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THE JOURNAL 

OF 

MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 



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MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, 1884. 



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THE JOURNAL 



OF 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 



TRANSLATED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION, 
BY 

MATHILDE BLIND. 

WITH TWO PORTRAITS. 



CASSELL & COMPANY, Limited: 

LONDON, PARIS # MELBOURNE. 

1890. 

[all rights reserved.] 



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CT 



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CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Introduction . vii 

Preface — 

Birthplace — Parentage — Visions of Future Greatness — Russian and 
French Governesses — Mile. Sophie Dolgikoff — Departure from Russia 
— Baden-Baden — First Drawing-Lessons at Geneva .... xxix 

CHAPTER I. 

1873. 
Nice. — Beginning of Journal — First Love — The Power of Song — A Plan 

of Study — Disillusion 1 

CHAPTER II. 

1874. 
Nice. — Russian New Year Superstitions — Mother's Illness— Personal 
Appearance — The Two Selves — Pleasures of Misery — Florence — Cen- 
tenary of Michael Angelo -The Old Masters 27 

CHAPTER III. 
1875. 
Nice. — A Song in the Market-place — A Prophetic Dream . . 40 

CHAPTER IV. 
1876. 

Rome. — The Follies of the Carnival — Pietro A A Wild Ride in 

the Campagna — A Roman Lover — A Romantic tete-a-tete — An Offer 
of Marriage— An Interview with a Clairvoyant— First Journey to 
Russia — Meeting with Father — Country Life in the Ukraine — A 
Group of Admirers — Paris 48 

CHAPTER V. 

1877. 
Naples. — The Carnival— Marie Bashkirtseff and the King of Italy- 
Count Doenhoff — Nice— Homer — Schlangenbad — Paris— Art — De- 
cision to Devote Her Life to It 250 

CHAPTER VI. 
1878. 
Paris. — The Atelier Julian— Death of Walitzky— A Devoted Suitor— 
The Waters at Soden— Robert Fleury— Rivalry with Breslau— Hopes 
and Fears for Her Future as an Artist . . • . • 301 



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vi CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VIL 

1879. *ao* 

Paris. — Painting, Modelling — Death of the Prince Imperial — Marriage 

of Paul BashkirtBeff 347 

CHAPTER VIII. 
1880. 
Paris. — First Salon Picture — Portrait of Woman Reading — Illness — 
Mont Dore — The Disabilities of Women — Picture of the Stu<no7~""* . 390 

CHAPTER IX. 

1881. 
Paris. — Ill-health— J)eaiiifisa=-Second Journey to Russia— Pilgrimage 
to~~Kieff— Triifto Spain— A Bull Fight— Toledo— A Convict Prison 
— Velasquez — Pleurisy 447 

CHAPTER X. 
1882. 
Paris.— Art — Bastien-Lepage — Fall of Gambetta — Sketch of the Two 
Maries — Gavronri— Two Russian Princes — Saint Marceaux .518 

CHAPTER XI. 
1883. 
Paris.— Gambetta's Funeral— Jean et Jacques — Father's Death — An 
Autumnal Landscape — Sculpture — Fame 578 

CHAPTER XII. 
1884. 
Paris. — Le Meeting — Popular Success — A Spring Landscape— Prater — 
A Social Triumph— The Poetry of the Street — Bastien-Lepage's 
Illness — Last Days 646 



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INTRODUCTION. 

An autobiography such as this Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff — 
a book in the nude, breathing and palpitating with life so 
to say — has never, to my knowledge, been given to the world. 
In some sense, therefore, its publication may be looked 
upon as a literary event. To read it is an education in 
psychology. For in this startling record a human being 
nas chosen to lay before us " the very pulse of the machine, ' 
to show us the momentary feelings and impulses, the unin- 
vited back-stair thoughts passing like a breath across 
our consciousness, which we ignore for the most part 
when presenting our mental harvest to the public. Is 
it well, is it ill done to make the world our father confessor, 
to take it into our most intimate and secret confidence ? 
Difficult to say, but in any case it is supremely interesting. 
For it is like possessing one of the much envied fairy gifts 
which enabled one to see through stone walls and to hear the 
thoughts as they passed throuffn a man's head. We may like 
this book or not ; we may find the personality revealed in it 
adorable or repellent ; but no one can deny that it is a genuine 
addition to our knowledge of human nature. " In any case," 
as its young author says, with striking penetration, " it is at 
least interesting as a human document," and more particularly 
so as a document about feminine nature, of which as yet we 
know so little. Indeed, most of our knowledge comes to us 
second-hand, through the medium of men with their cut- 
and-dried theories as to what women are or ought to be. 

Now here is a girl, the story of whose life as told by 
herself may be called the drama of a woman's soul ; at odds 
with destiny, as such a soul must needs be, when endowed 
with great powers and possibilities, under the present social con- 
ditions ; where the wisn to live, of letting whatever energies you 
possess have their full play in action, is continually thwarted 
by the impediments ana restrictions of sex. A girl with the 
ambition of a Csesar — as she herself says — smouldering under 
her crop of red golden hair, has a hard time of it though her 
head repose on aown pillows edged with the costliest of laces ; 
such a girl may well be fretted into a fever by the loving care 
of her affectionate aunts and uncles, and grandparents, &c. &c. 



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viii MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Did we but know it the same revolts, the same struggles, 
the same helpless rage, have gone on in many another woman's 
life for want of scope for her latent powers and faculties. 

But Marie Bashkirtseff* is too complex and versatile a 
nature to be taken in illustration of any particular theory ; 
she is made up of heterogeneous elements, and her muta- 
bility of mood is a constant surprise to the reader. She 
never wholly yields herself up to any fixed rule of conduct, 
or even passion, being swayed this way or that by the 
intense impressionability of her nature. She herself recog- 
nises this anomaly in the remark : " My life can't endure ; 
I have a deal too much of some things and a deal too little 
of others, and a character not made to last." The very 
intensity of her desire to seize life at all points seems to 
defeat itself, and she cannot help stealing side glances at 
ambition during the most romantic tete-d-tete with a lover, or 
of being tortured by visions of unsatisfied love when art should 
have engrossed all her faculties. For she wants everything 
at once — whatever success Fortune has to offer its favourites, 
the glamour of youth and beauty, rank and wealth with 
their glittering gifts, the artist's fame, the power of a queen 
of society — all, all, or nothingness! She hardly realised in 
her passionate self-absorption and egotism how much she 
asked, or what a niggard Fate is to tne claims of individual 
man. I was strangely reminded of her on my return from 
Paris last autumn, where I had been to see her pictures and 
the house with its splendid studio where the last years of 
Marie BashkirtsefTs life were spent Near me, on the Calais 
boat, sat a beautiful little French boy between three and four 

{rears old, staring intently at the sea below. Suddenly he 
ooked round and asked, as if the thought had just struck 
him, " Is this the sea, Mamma ? " On her replying in the 
affirmative, he said in the most matter-of-fact tone, " Mamma, 
I want to drink up the whole sea." 

" Mamanje vottdrais boire toute la mer? said this delicate, 
golden-haired mite of a boy, his earnest eyes fixed on the 
welter of waters just lit for a moment with the stormy 
crimson of a sudden sunset. This wish — childish but not un- 
natural where the limits of personality are unrealised — seemed 
like an echo, the mocking echo of Marie BashkirtsefTs life. 

Did not she too want to drink up the whole sea, the 
whole of life, embracing the entire circle of sensations, but 
finding only a few poor pitiful spoonfuls doled out to her 
instead, dash herself to pieces, in her ineffectual rage at 
the obstacles she encountered. How well she knew herself 



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INTRODUCTION. ix 

is shown by her saying, "If I could keep a little quieter 
I might live another twenty years." But she was too in- 
tensely modern .for repose. Born in an age of railways and 
electric telegraphs, she wanted to live by steam. Terribly 
moving, when we remember the sequel, is that bitter cry ot 
hers, the very burden of her Journal : " Oh, to think that 
we live but once and that life is so short ! When 1 think 
of it I am quite beside myself, and my brain reels with 
despair" .... 

" We live but once, and my time is being wasted in the 
most unworthy fashion. These days which are passing are 
passing never to return. 

" We live but once ! And must life, so short already, be 
shortened still further ; must it be spoilt — nay, stolen — yes, 
stolen by infamous circumstances ?" 

This violent temperament, full of stress and tumult, may 
be partly due to the opposing tendencies of heredity and 
actual circumstances. For Marie Bashkirtseff, although in 
a measure the product of modern French life, and moulded 
by cosmopolitan influences, is nevertheless intensely Russian. 
Her personality is a singular mixture of untutored instincts 
joined to an ultra-modern subtlety of brain and nerves. 
She has the wild Cossack blood in her veins, but on her 
back the last fashionable novelty by Worth. Her religion 
offers the same curious compound of primitive idolatry and 
philosophical reasoning. Not only is she apt, as Mr. Glad- 
stone so happily expresses it, " to treat the Almighty as she 
treated her grandfather, en igal" the nature of her prayers is 
essentially similar to a savage's worship of his idol — inclined 
to be extremely devout if his requests are granted ; but likely 
to turn restive and make away with his fetish if the latter 
remains deaf to him. And tne singularity is that while 
she is acting her religious part with immense fervour, 
devoutly saying her prayers as she kneels on the floor, 
she doesn't believe m God at all Indeed, she acutely 
dissects the nature of religious beliefs, while continuing 
in her half-belief; for, as she says in her naive cynicism, 
" cela 71 engage & rien." Yet she was full of profound in- 
tuitions — unexpected flashes of insight that opened out 
perspectives into the. infinite mysteries of spiritual experi- 
ence. She startles the reader every now and then in the 
very midst of her wounded vanities and lamentations over 
her wasted life of sixteen summers by assuring him that she 
is not to be taken quite seriously, that, after all, it is not 
so very sad, and that the sadnesss itself and the sighs, the 



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x MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

tears and the wringing of hands, are part of the play at 
which the other Ego — the over-soul as Emerson would say — 
is all the time present as at a spectacle. This unknown factor 
of human consciousness, aloof and indifferent to misery 
and pain — nay, even enjoying misery and pain — is often 
referred to by the youthful writer, showing tnat Marie was 
above all a liorn critic of life — love and sorrow, passion and 
pain serving but as the raw material for the development of 
thought and analysis. In this respect her Journal is a far 
more complete expression of her individuality than her pic- 
tures are. And it is possible that the novel — the most modern 
of all forms of art — might have afforded the fullest scope 
for the development of her genius. For the novel, treated 
with the conscientious precision of scientific analysis, 
is the distinctive feature of Russian literature. But the 
question is whether she was not too much taken up 
with herself to enter into other lives with the sympathetic 
insight required for the delineation of human character. 
Be that as it may, she has produced a book of more 
absorbing interest than any novel can ever be — a book 
with all the attraction of romance, and yet a mirror reflect- 
ing life in its passage from day to day. Indeed, the unique 
interest of this Journal arises from the fact that the writer, in 
the very ardour of the moment, finds relief in recording her 
impressions ; and while in the act of experiencing a variety of 
sensations, she is yet able to treat herseli, and others in contact 
with herself, as objects of dispassionate observation, to be used 
with minute fidelity in the representation of human existence. 
In order to understand this composite, abnormal, prema- 
turely-developed nature, it is necessary to have some know- 
ledge of her family and circumstances. Marie Bashkirtsefl' was 
born at Poltava, in the Ukraine, on the 11th of November, 1860. 
The vast steppes and stirring traditions of her native land 
form the appropriate background for this extraordinary child, 
fall of quenchless ardour and explosive force. Her father, the 
son of General Paul Gregorievitch Bashkirtsefl', was a wealthy 
landed proprietor, belonging to the Russian gentry, and Mare- 
chal de Noblesse, in the above-mentioned town. In some 
respects he seems to have been a specimen of that type of 
Russian noble which Tolstoi* has so inimitably portrayed in 
Oblonsky, the brother of Anna Kar6nine, the gay Lothario who 
makes love to his wife's governess, and drives poor Dolly to 
distraction. M. Bashkirtsefl', some members of whose family 
had died of consumption, took to wife a MUe. Babanine, a tall, 
healthy, and beautiful young girl, whose family were of older 



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INTRODUCTION. xi 

nobility than his own, being of supposed Tartar origin, " of 
the first invasion." Marie's maternal grandfather was a fine 
specimen of the nobleman of the generation which had been 
stirred by the poems of Poushkine and Lermontoff. He was 
enlightened and studious, had written verse in Byron's style, 
and served in the Caucasus, and, while still very young, got 
married to a girl of fifteen, a Mile. Cornelius, who bore him a 
family of nine children. The union of Marie's parents not 
proving a happy one, chiefly owing to M. Bashkirtseff 's persist- 
ence in sowing his wild oats after marriage, the young wife left 
him after a few years of wedded misery, and returned to 
her parents, with her two children, Paul and Marie. They 
lived all together at Tcherniakowka, M. Babanine's country 
house, whose exquisitely laid-out grounds evinced the artistic 
taste of their proprietor. Marie, then a frail and delicate child, 
became the idol of her grandmother and of her aunt — the 
unmarried sister of Mme. Bashkirtseff A fortune-teller, 
whom Marie's mother consulted, predicted : " Your son will be 
like the rest of the world, but your daughter will be a star." 

In 1870, after the death of her mother, Mme. Bash- 
kirtseff left Russia, accompanied by her father, her unmarried 
sister, her little niece Dina, Walitzky, the faithful family doctor, 
governesses, nurses, and dogs of various descriptions. They 
went to Vienna, travelled through Germany, and oecame hence- 
forth part of that floating Russian population which drinks the 
waters at Baden-Baden, stakes its thousands at Monte Carlo, 
and looks upon Paris as its earthly paradise. Thus, from the 
age of ten, Marie may be said to have begun seeing the world ; 
and she kept her eyes and ears wide open all the time, taking 
object lessons in life, learning many things which might have 
been more wisely left unlearned. Glimpses of fashionable 
society at Baden-Baden gave her many a pang of unsatisfied 
vanity. Yet her thirst for distinction did not suffer her to rest 
idle. From the age of four, we are told, visions of future 
greatness had haunted her brain. She imagines herself in 
turn the first dancer, the finest singer, the most accomplished 
harp-player in existence ; she electrifies masses of men by 
the magnetism of her eloquence ; she dreams of marrying 
the Czar, and so saving his throne by inaugurating social 
reforms which shall bless the Sovereign and his people. 
True, this was in her nursery days, if such days ever existed 
for her. But, in any case, she is determined to play a 
leading part on the stage of life. 

Her Journal, the earlier portions of which she destroyed, 
opens at Nice in January, 1873, when she was twelve years 



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xii MARIE BA8HKIBT8EFF. 

old. It is written in French, as Marie possessed but an 
imperfect knowledge of Russian. Like most great poets, 
from Dante to Byron, she was bound to fall in love at this 
early stage of her existence. But no rapt and saintly vision 
clotned in the purity of dawn passes across her vision; 
this child of the nineteenth century is of the earth earthy, 
and fully alive to the value of a coronet. For she fixed her 
affections on an English duke, the most conspicuous figure 
amid the brilliant throng driving along the Promenade des 
Anglais. It is difficult to make out how much of her adora- 
tion is due to the classical features of this horsey Briton, and 
how much to the faultless appointment of his four-in-hand. 
Of course, they had never met or exchanged a word, and 
the noble duke was ignorant of the very existence of this 
funny little girl in short frocks within whose soul his me- 
mory burned like a lamp. A poor ideal at the best for a 
devotee to kneel before, but such as it was it was kept alight 
for a couple of years or so, being finally quenched by the 
announcement of the duke's marriage, which rudely dispelled 
the day-dream once for alL Marie suffered agonies for a 
time, agonies quite different, she confesses, from " what I 
formerly endured when a wall paper or a piece of furniture 
displeased me." 

But amid the distractions of imaginary love-dreams, of 
change and travel, this young girl managed to acquire a 
surprising amount of knowledge. She threw herself into 
study witn the same passionate intensity that marks her life in 
all its phases. At thirteen she drew up a plan of study which 
she had thought out as carefully as though she were preparing 
to take a degree. She learned English, Italian, and German, 
Latin and Greek, drawing and music. But music was her most 
engrossing interest at tnis time, for her magnificent voice 
might have helped her to realise her wildest dreams had it 
not been early impaired by the fatal disease which ultimately 
ruined it. Education in the moral sense of the word — which 
would have helped to supply that moderation and harmony of 
the faculties, for want of which she probably perished earlier 
than she otherwise might have done — she haa absolutely none. 
There was not a member of her family, indeed, capable of 
guiding or controlling her, and while acquiring knowledge 
and accomplishments of all kinds with intuitive facility, she 
remained in regard to moral training as undisciplined as a 
wild colt of the steppes. She was too keen an observer not 
to admit some years later that while her family had spoilt 
her in her childhood, it had done nothing to aid her 



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INTRODUCTION. xiii 

development For in spite of their eccentricity they were 
commonplace people after all, indolent as only Russians know 
how to be, given to endless procrastination, enough to drive an 
energetic nature crazy. Though always more or less on the 
move, it took them weeks before they fairly got under way, 
and this interregnum, when the furniture would be stowed 
away, the domestic arrangements upset, the boxes ready 
packed in the passage, used to drive Marie, who hated 
interruptions, half frantic. 

The journey through Italy, with the sight of its churches, 
palaces, museums, and picture-galleries, was a new and thrilling 
interest to Mile. Bashkirtseft', a born artist down to her pretty 
pink finger tips ; her fashion of seeing, admiring, criticising 
the most celebrated masterpieces of painting and sculpture 
is refreshingly amusing and original. She takes nothing on 
trust. She is undaunted by names that have gathered 
authority from the suffrages of centuries. What most closely 
resembles nature, she says, pleases her most. The ideality of 
Raphael, the magic of Titian, the haunting mystery of 
Leonardo, leave her unawed, and she utters strange heresies — 
which give the relish of a sauce piquante to her crude and 
youthful criticisms, containing always a considerable admixture 
of truth, as when she is speaking of the card-board painting of 
Raphael, and the magnificent but stupid Venuses of Titian — 
enough to make the orthodox in art shudder ! Why should 
this young observer take it for granted that those old masters 
are so impeccable? She comes of a new race and looks at 
things from a new point of view. She has little reverence 
less awe, no gratitude for the sacred debt we owe to the past. 
She, a child of fifteen, pronounces judgment on the masters of 
Venice and Florence. But how difficult it is to steer clear between 
abject conformfty and parrot-like repetition of long accepted 
verdicts on the one hand, and on tne other an originality of 
view which leaves you entirely at the mercy of your personal 
idiosyncrasy. However eccentric at times, Marie Bashkirtseff 's 
opinions have, at any rate, always the merit of being home-made. 

It may be said she was a born impressionist. Long before 
she had ever heard of the existence of such a school she 
belonged to it. It was in the air ; and being as sensitive as a 
thermometer she answered to all the changes in the intel- 
lectual atmosphere of her time. Nothing is more singular 
than the way in which she reflects the political events of 
the daj. She seems intuitively to feel the public pulse, 
and without any personal object in view to change as it 
changes as naturally as a chameleon alters its colour 



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xiv MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

according to the objects by which it happens to be 
surrounded. In this respect she would have made a capital 
leader writer. Indeed, among her innumerable ambitions 
was that of writing for one of the French papers, and one 
of the finest pieces of style in her Journal is unques- 
tionably the glowing description of Gambetta's funeral. At 
such times tne excessive egotism which fills the universe 
with her personality is obliterated, and her enthusiasm and 
eloquence carry everything before them. For she has the 
power of letting her soul be swept out by the wave of some 
great national emotion ; only to recoil back upon herself, 
as, for example, when she confesses to wondering whether 
some caller had given her credit for the tears she had shed 
over Gambetta's death. 

But to take up the biographical thread again. The stay 
at Rome in 1876 marks a fresh period in Mane Bashkirtseff s 
development. The city of the Csesars and the Popes, with its 
historic greatness fallen into decay, yet so glorious still, acts 
upon her like strong wine. " Its beauties and ruins intoxicate 
me," she exclaims in her enthusiasm, and with her wonted 
impulse to become that which she admires, she wants to be 
u Caesar, Augustus, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caracalla, the Devil, 
the Pope!" Her brain and blood were on fire, her beauty 
increased in charm, her intellect in subtlety ; with her unique 
power of assimilation she became a portion of that fierce, 
dreamy, enchanted Roman life. Wonders of art and history, 
rides on the Corso, balls and masquerades of the Carnival, 
with youth and love and beauty sweetening the whole — what 
more can mortal want ? A romance with all the accessories 

complete ! Pietro A , the dark-eyed young Roman " with 

a moustache of twenty-three," was in turn passionate and 
playful, soft yet daring, with that finished grace and per- 
fection of manner which come natural to the thoroughbred 
Italian. This nephew of a powerful Cardinal, possibly of a 
future Pope, was not a suitor to be wholly scorned nor yet to 
be heartily accepted. He had no great career in view, was still 
dependent on his family for support, and skimmed along the 
surface of life like the gay butterfly he was. But this fichu 
fils de pr&re, as she mocking-ly calls him in her diary, had a 
potent charm for the ambitious young Russian — a charm 
which made her loth to let him go, and long for his return. 
Was it first love or the fancy of an hour, the caprice of a 
coquette or an experiment in love-making ? Perhaps a little 
of all these, for with so complex a nature, analytical at once 
and emotional, it was difficult for her to be quite genuine and 



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INTRODUCTION. xv 

simple. But since her own account of the matter is a mass 
of contradictions, how shall any outsider determine whether 
her heart had been really touched, or merely the " feminine 
envelope " which was so excessively feminine. There is the 
description of that wild ride in the Campagna ; of those long 
evening hours when sitting apart from tne rest she listened to 
Pietro's passionate declarations of love with his burning eyes 
thrilling ner pulses ; of that secret midnight interview at the 
foot of the staircase in the gloomy old palace, with its inane 
repetitions of " I love you ' and the bewildering glances and 
heart throbs ; and that Kiss on the mouth which, for months 
and years afterwards, stung her with intolerable shame when- 
ever she remembered it — all these glowing moments seem 
to rise up with an assurance that she loved ner Roman lover 
for the time being — probably the happiest time of her life. 
But she never lost herself in her love. Either it was not 
strong enough, or she was too strong for it Her egotism, her 
microscopic analysis of her own ana her lover's feelings, her 
craving ambition, which made her regard marriage as the 
ladder by which to reach the palaces, pictures, jewels, all the 
glittering accidents of fortune for wnich she thirsted — all 
these counter currents of her nature acted as opposing 
influences, and diminished her capability for love. For the 
rest, some years later, she declares love to be an impossi- 
bility to her. " Would you really know the truth ? " she cries. 
" Well, then, I am neither painter, sculptor, nor musician, 
neither woman, daughter nor friend! Everything finally 
resolves itself into a subject for observation, reflection, and 
analysis. A look, a voice, a face, a joy, a pain, are 
immediately weighed, examined, noted and classified, and 
when I have noted it down I am content" What is this 
but saying in other words that she is a poet, a painter, a 
pyschologist, and that her brain, in its enormous activity, draws 
to itself and consumes all the other elements of her being. 
In her poem, " A Musical Instrument," Mrs. Browning has 
expressed something of the same kind by that metaphor of 
the reed that has had the pith taken out of it, and henceforth 
gives forth the sweetest sounds at Pan's bidding, but will 
never grow again * as a reed with the reeds in the river." 

Everything was tending to concentrate Marie BashkirtsefFs 
thoughts on art. It opened to her a refuge in which her self- 
tormeiiting soul might find some peace by giving her an 
outlet for her restless energy. The great match she had 
sometimes planned with cool worldlmess, seemed beyond 
her reach. Even the journey to Russia, whither Marie went 



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xvi MARIE BA8HKIBT8EFF. 

to bring about some sort of reconciliation between her 
parents, with a view to her own settlement in life, had no 
result so far. She boasted many devoted slaves, admirers 
who gratified her insatiable vanity, but most of them, man- 
like, after having been attracted by her personal fascination 
dropped off frightened at her vast superiority to themselves. 
As for her, she would none of them, and one after another of 
her parents' matrimonial arrangements fell to the ground. 
After the brilliant experiences of Nice, Rome, and Paris, 
provincial life in Russia, when the first novelty had worn off, 
proved rather flat 

The manners and customs of her countrymen repelled 
and shocked her in many ways. During her second visit in 
1882 to Gavronzi, her father's country house, two young 
princes, Victor and Basil, came to see them, evidently appear- 
ing on the scene as desirable suitors for Marie's hand. They 
were apparently men of the world, the eldest having an air 
of distinction, and she had taken a good deal of pains 
with her own appearance in honour of these young nobles. 
But what were her sensations when she saw the youngest, the 
Prince Basil, kicking and digging his spurs into his coach- 
man, who had got drunk according to his wont. No wonder 
she had a creepy feeling down her spine, and was eager to get 
away from a country whose people crawl in the dust before 
such men as these. 

Art, always the delight, now became the master-passion of 
Marie Bashkirtseff, and in 1877 she finally determined to 
devote her life to it About this time she speaks quaintly 
enough of the old age of her youth; indeed, living as she 
did so much faster than ordinary mortals, years were hardly 
the measure of her age. At any rate, she had already 
outlived many illusions, cast many things behind her, and 
knew a good deal of what was going on behind the scenes of 
life. When she entered Julians life-school in Paris, where 
women, though working in a separate atelier, enjoyed pre- 
cisely the same advantages as the male art students, she 
registered a solemn vow : " In the name of the Father and the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost ! I have decided to live in Paris, 
where I shall study, and in the summer go for recreation to 
the springs. All my fancies are over, and I feel that the 
time has come for me to take a step. This is no ephemeral 
decision like so many others, but a final one ; and may the 
Divine protection be with me ! " From a life of change and 
excitement she now passed to the monotony of real hard work. 
Each morning at nine she was driven to the studio, going 



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INTRODUCTION. xvii 

home for the twelve o'clock dSjeuner, and returning at one for 
the afternoon. Her astonishing capacity became a wonder to 
her masters, who would hardly believe that she had had no 
previous instruction save the regulation school-girl lessons. 
Her daily progress is minutely recorded in the Journal with 
constant changes from elation to despondency. She flung 
her whole ardent soul into her work with a fierce determina- 
tion to conquer the technique of her art, and she had every en- 
couragement to persevere, Julian assuring her one day that 
her draughtsmanship, considering the shortness of time she had 
been at work, was actually phenomenal. " Take your drawing," 
he said, " take it to any of our first artists, I don't care whom, 
and ask him how much time is required to draw from the life 
like that, and no one — do you hear ? — no one will believe it 
possible to have done it in less than a year ; and then tell them 
that after a month or six weeks you draw from the life with 
that solidity and power." After eleven months of study the 
medal was awarded to Mile. Bashkirtseff by Robert Fleury, 
Bouguereau, Lefevre, Boulanger, and Cot. 

Little by little a great change came over her. She 
grew more serious, concentrated, and profound. A deeper 
sympathy stirred within her, a keener perception of the 
many-coloured humanity aroimd. Her bosom-thoughts were 
not entirely given to the favourites of fortune, she dwelt 
occasionally on the outcast by the wayside, on the child-waif 
housed by the street. True, there was a picturesqueness in 
dirt and rags which she looked for in vain in the fine 
mansions and spacious avenues of the Champs-Elys£es. But 
the attraction which these sights possessed was deeper 
rooted than that. It had its origin in a vivid feeling for the 
tragic contrasts in man's lot, and later on might have turned 
her into a painter, with so profound a grip of reality as to 
invest the everyday life aroimd with tne impressiveness of 
history. There are passages in her Journal, describing the 
drama of the street, that are like flashes of inspiration. She 
reads subtle meanings in the looks, the attitucles, the move- 
ments of passers-by. and suggestions of human tragedies in 
many a race caugnt sight of in the crowd. Mothers with 
children in arms, botdevardiers smoking in a caft, the sight 
of a pretty girl leaning on a counter selling funeral wreaths 
with a smile on her lips — these things strike her as the very 
stuff to be turned to tne artist's use, and as fit for the brush 
as when 

" Some ereat painter dips 

His pencil iu the gloom of earthquake and eclipse." 

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xviii MARIE BASEKIRTSEFF. 

Indeed, it was a keen delight to Marie Bashkirtseff to 
escape from her elegant world and go prowling through the 
Quartier Latin, looking for rare old editions, for plaster casts, 
for skulls. The music shops, the bookstalls along the Seine, 
the busy throng of students and workpeople, appealed to her 
artistic sense, and the contradictory creature even took to 
chiding her luck, in that she had been born to wealth and 
luxury. - This change of mood was partly due to her rivalry 
with one of her fellow-students, the most gifted of them — a 
young Swiss lady called Breslau, who, living plainly and 
laboriously in true art-student fashion, appeared to her rival 
more fortunate, in being wholly free from worldly distrac- 
tions. This promising artist, who had begun some years earlier 
than Marie, was a thorn in her side, for she continually tested 
herself by the attainments of the former, making carefid calcu- 
lations as to whether, at such and such a date, her work had 
been equal or superior, or the reverse, of what she was capable 
of producing herself. Indeed, one of the worst traits of Mile. 
Bashkirtseff 's character is her abiding jealousy, nay envy — 
though she repudiates the word — of her fellow-student, whose 
success robbea her of sleep, whose failure gave her a thrill of 
relief. She seems to have been incapable of that glow of 
enthusiasm which in youth at least cements the comradeship 
of followers of the same art. But in extenuation we may say 
with Blake — 

" The poison of the honey bee 
Is the artist's jealousy." 

In speaking of Marie Bashkirtseff as a born impressionist, 
I referred to her instinct and temperament even more than to 
her bias as an artist. For she belongs to the naturalist 
rather than the impressionist school. To reproduce the real 
as faithfully as may be, to catch hold of the life of to-day, 
the common life of the streets, vagabonds, gamins, working 
people, strollers, convicts, and what not — this is her great 
object. She asks to be face to face with actual facts, instead 
of dealing with figments of the fancy ; to present the " living 
life" through the medium of colour as she so triumphantly 
managed to convey it through that of words. What she aims 
at above all therefore is expression — truth of expression. Not 
beauty, not invention, not — 

" The light that never was on sea or land." 

That light is precisely what she scorns. No, no, rive her 
the light as it slants across a dingy wall in a narrow rarisian 



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INTRODUCTION, xix 

back street, on which a boy has scrawled a gallows ; or the 
rain dully boating on a tattered umbrella. That is nature, 
the nature we see most commonly about us, and which we 
can render with the greatest accuracy of presentment. 

For she is an enthusiastic disciple of Zola, the master of a 
school which has set the ugly in the place of the beautiful, as 
Milton's Satan called on evil to be his good. In reading some 
of the novels, and looking at some of the pictures produced by 
the latter-day followers of this gospel of the gutter, one would 
say that nature was one universal chamber of horrors. There 
is enough and to spare, no doubt, but it would be well to re- 
member sometimes that the sun is still shining in the sky, 
and man not absolutely a brute. Even in our own day, with 
our own eyes we have seen the angel in the man ; the names 
of Mazzini, of Gordon, of Damien, nave made us sad and glad, 
and it is as well to remember that they are as much part and 
parcel of human nature as the drunkard of "L' Assommoir " and 
the scoundrel of " L'Immortel." Yet in justice it must be said 
that the reading of the former novel called out Marie's 
sympathies for the sufferings of the people in a way that 
nothing else had ever done, the description of their misery 
making her positively ill, and leaving a permanent mark 
behind. If she seemed by preference to select ugly subjects 
for presentation, it must not be forgotten that she went in for 
rendering what she saw, and that she lived in the Paris of 
the latter part of the nineteenth century. Had she remained 
in her native Ukraine it might have been different with 
her, for she might have found subjects to her hand as 
full of character as they were of beauty and originality. Indeed, 
she was intensely sensitive to the beauty of life, as her jubilant 
admiration of Spain proves very conclusively. A word must be 
said here about her journey to that country, which was the 
turning point of her career as an artist. She was a pupil 
when she went -there, a painter on her return. Formerly sne 
had only seen the drawing and the subject. Now she seemed 
suddenly to have acquired a new sense, and atmosphere and 
colour stood revealed. Velasquez took her by storm. His 
unrivalled technique, his brush-power, the monumental real- 
ism of his work, made her raise " herself on tip-toe to catch 
the secret of his divine truthfulness." Fashion may have 
had something to do with this unbounded enthusiasm. For 
though original in her judgments, Marie Bashkirtseff is the 
most impressionable of human beings, and the name of 
Velasquez was the rallying cry of the naturalists. 

Not only Velasquez, however, the entire country stirred her 

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xx MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

artistic faculties as nothing else had ever done before. The 
fantastic old churches and palaces born of the marriage of 
Moorish and Gothic art, the fairy-like gardens full of the 
murmur of fountains falling between beds of violets ; the grace 
of the black-eyed Spanish women and supple-limbed gipsies 
in the tortuous streets, turning into pictures with every chance 
grouping and accident of light and shade — here, indeed, the 
common stuff of life was food for the painter's canvas. Pen 
and pencil became equally inspired, and her descriptions of 
Spanish life and scenery, of the bull-lights and cigarette 
makers and convicts, are among the most powerful and pic- 
turesque pieces of writing in the Journal. There is an aptness 
in her phrase, a crisp clearness of outline and vigour of pre- 
sentment making these passages worthy of a master of style. 

The tire of inspiration caught from the genius of Velasquez 
and Ribera, and the architectural marvels of Toledo and 
Granada, burned with a steady flame during the short span of 
life still left to this marvellous girl. 

In August, ]882, she painted Tlie Umbrella, remarkable 
for the striking truth and precision in the delineation of 
character, the Holbeinlike accuracy of the drawing, the 
vigour of the pose. It is the picture of a girl of twelve wrap- 
ping her old shawl round her as she stands impassive, with 
wind-blown hair facing the rain under a bent umbrella of 
Gamp-like dimensions. The expression of the stolid face full 
of that pathos of mute suffering which occasionally startles one 
in the looks of animals is a piece of admirable realism. The 
same vigour and solidity of handling are evinced in Jean 
et Jacques, exhibited in the Salon of 1883. Two boys, the 
elder brother holding the reluctant little one by the hand, 
trudge to school with unwilling steps. Jean, sucking a 
leaf between his lips as a make-belief cigarette, his cap 
rakishly on the back of his head, and umbrella tucked under 
his right arm, has the business-like air of those children of the 
poor who are left in charge of babies from the time they could 
toddle. A more ambitious effort in the same line, and a really 
fine picture, Le Meeting, was begun in April, 1883. The title 
was a stroke of wit, when applied to half-a-dozen lads discuss- 
ing the use to which a piece of string is to be applied with 
the excitement of politicians over a question of state. We 
know them, these gamins de Paris, these young habitues of 
the gutter, flocking together like hungry sparrows, picking up 
their food anyhow, yet managing to grow in a devil-may-care 
sort of way. Little love, less learning, falls to their share, yet 
the great city is their schoolmaster, and for aught we know 



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INTRODUCTION. xxi 

they may hear "sermons in stones," though not sermons of 
the orthodox, but rather of the Louise Michel kind. But they 
are not altogether a bad sort. True, that big, thin legged 
fellow with the fox-like look, laying down the law to the 
audience, may grow up to brew mischief in the State, but at 
present the lucky find of a stray nest or length of stick yields 
trim a throb of satisfaction. A set of ugly, unwashed, badly- 
clothed ragamuffins. You or I passing them in the street 
might have looked another way to avoid seeing their dirty 
rags. Yet how interesting, how full of life and character they 
are, just a group snatched, out of the busy throng, and still 
warm and breathing, translated into the language of art. 
Though grey and sombre in colour this picture is harmonious, 
nay, even brilliant in tone. It has a real atmosphere, and the 
figures stand out vigorously from the gloomy background of 
the street, partly blocked up by a wooden paling. The natural- 
ness of the composition, the admirable truth of the general 
effect, the vigour of the execution, the sense it gives us of 
latent force instinctively assimilating and reproducing the 
pictorial elements of common life, combine to make Le 
Meeting a memorable performance for a girl of twenty-two 
who had only started on her artistic career five years pre- 
viously. 

Expression being her forte, as might be expected por- 
traiture is one of Marie BashkirtseiFs strong points. She 
has done nothing more successful and admirable than the 
pastel of her cousin Dina, to be seen in the Luxembourg, 
as well as Le Meeting. Her portraits of Mme. P. K, 
her sister-in-law, of Bojidar Karageorgevitch the Servian 
Prince, and of Mile, de Canrobert, bear the unmistakable 
stamp of being characteristic likenesses. The latter is par- 
ticularly noticeable for the ease and freedom in the lines of 
the figure ; though rough in workmanship there is style in 
the pose, and in the treatment there seems a suggestion of 
Mr. Whistler's manner. 

Landscapes with figures also attracted the young artist ; 
and the word-painting of some of her projected works in 
that line — such as the description of the funeral of a peasant 
girl in spring, whose coffin is carried to its last resting 
place through a blossoming apple orchard — is as lovely a 
piece of writing as we know. Sne imagines the delicate har- 
monies of pale pinks, the infantine green of the new leaves 
and untrodden grass, the delicious blue of the rain-washed 
April sky, hues that have the soft and soothing effect of a 
flute heard across the waters of a lake ; and amid all that 



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xxii MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

glory of young leaf and blossom the bier of the dead girl, 
and some rougn old country people by the wayside, as gnarled 
and rugged as the bronzed trunks of the apple-trees. 

The two subjects of that kind which she actually did 
paint are fiill of charm and suggestiveness. The one is an 
avenue in autumn, breathing of desolation and decay. There 
is something almost human in the miserable look of the 
trees stripped of their sumptuous clothing, and shivering in 
their bones, so to speak. A dull, deadly mist steals up the 
path like a shroud which invisible hands are bringing to 
cover the earth. The ghostly air of abandonment fully gives 
the sentiment of this phase of nature ; and, indeed, landscape 
painters agree that autumn, with its mists and rich discoloura- 
tions, is the most pictorial of all the seasons. The other, called 
Spring, painted at Sevres in April, 1884, was the first 
of her pictures which found its way to Russia ; and that, too, 
in a manner most flattering to the artist, for it was bought, 
early in the year 1888, by the cousin of the Czar, the Grand 
Duke Constantine Constantinowitch, not only a distin- 
guished connoisseur, but himself something of a painter and 
poet. It is now in his gallery at the Marble Palace, which 
contains several works of the highest merit. In this picture 
Marie Bashkirtseff attempted to express the inmost spirit 
of spring by line and colour — the rush of sap in the 
vegetation, the exquisite modulations of green, the little 
yellow flowers in the grass, the sheen of white and pink 
blossoms; in short, the mysterious fermentation of revival 
culminating in the person of a rustic girl half asleep under 
an apple-tree. She is meant to express that "drowsy 
numbness" of extreme physical enjoyment which Keats so 
magically describes in the " Ode to a Nightingale." A frame 
of mind in which, as the downright pamter says, she would 
easily have succumbed to the first young boor who would 
see her sitting there. 

But we do not realise Marie BashkirtseflPs astonishing 
energy, power of work, and devotion to her art, till we 
have seen the quantity of sketches, designs, and studies 
from life, which she managed to produce between the ages 
of seventeen and twenty-four. These have been carefully 
preserved by the pious love of Mme. Bashkirtseff in the 
house where her aaughter spent the two or three last years 
of her life in a kind of artistic delirium, laying in a picture, 
modelling in wet clay, improvising wondrous times, studying 
Homer, Livy, and Dante, stretching the hours into days 
by the number of sensations she managed to cram them witn. 



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INTRODUCTION. xxiii 

Well might Marie say that there was nothing wanting to 
her artist's happiness in the way she was lodged. She had a 
whole storey entirely appropriated to herself. The spaciona 
atelier has a splendid light, and a gallery running round it, 
the whole being crowded from floor to ceiling with her 
work. There is the first portrait she painted — a woman in 
a blue dress — of which tne most noticeable feature is the 
treatment of the hands and fair silky hair. The Study of 
a FisJterman of Nice, browned by the sun, with that rich flesh 
colour, to which the blue sea acts as a foil, is a powerful bit 
of character. The Corrtiesse de TouUmse Reading shows 
a more delicate feeling for beauty than is usual with her; 
the action of the long, white fingers passing through the 
waves of golden hair being masterly in treatment. So is the 
sketch of a baby at the oreast. There is something almost 
fiercely realistic about it ; only a breast and the infant's face ; 
but the blue-veined temples, the blue-pink tones of the 
cheeks and unfinished little nose, the energy of the sucking lips, 
are caught to the life. The head of the convict she painted at 
Granada shows the influence of the Spanish school. It is 
a face full of expression, the sinister physiognomy looking 
out from the canvas with a strange vividness. The same 
influence is shown in the masterly study of a pair of hands. 
They reveal a character, and suggest a story — a tragedy, if 
you wilL I know not what of ages of pain and endurance 
is conveyed by those long, bony, corded hands, but they are 
not easily forgotten. More of a finished work is the picture 
of a child of nine walking through an avenue with a bottle 
in one hand and a tin pail in the other. The soft blue 
of the gown harmonises very happily with the neutral tints 
of the ground and the trunks of the trees. The naive expression 
of the child, and the action of the sturdy little feet are ad- 
mirably true to nature. The general effect is full of poetry 
of the Wordsworth kind 

But it is impossible here to give a detailed account of 
the many things of interest contained in this studio. The 
general impression left on the mind is that Marie Bashkirtseff 
excels in tne vitality of her work. Everything she touches 
catches life from her fingers. Insignificant in subject, ugly, 
uninviting it may be, but it lives, and makes you feel 
that it does. Herein lies her great gift, and one she so 
highly prized ! But she has other qualities as a painter. 
She can paint atmosphere so that ner figures are well 
detached from the background, and there is no confusion of 
objects ; she is noticeable for her effects of delicate gradations 



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xxiv MABIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

of light, and her colour has a subdued sweetness of tone, rather 
sober for so ardent a nature. 

The fine library leading out of the atelier shows what a 
student and lover of books Marie Bashkirtseff must have been. 
Valuable editions of the Greek and Roman classics stand in 
orderly rows along the shelves. The literatures of Italy, 
France, Germany, England, and Russia, are represented by all 
their chief authors. A striking photograph of Zola, for whom 
this artist entertained so pronounced an admiration, hangs 
on the wall opposite the writing table. But these rooms 
contained what seemed to bring Marie Bashkirtseff in the 
flesh more vividly before me than the books and the furni- 
ture, the statues and pictures, and all the rest of it. Only a 
cupboard full of little shoes — house-shoes, dress-shoes, ball- 
shoes — but what a world of pathos was there not in those bits 
of leather or satin which had shod those small Cinderella-like 
feet, of which the young girl was almost as vain as of her 
beautiful hands. For Marie was much occupied with her 
appearance, fond of dress, and had more than the ordinary 
share of a woman's love of attracting admiration. She had 
a finely developed figure of middle height, hair of a golden 
red, the brilliant complexion that usually accompanies a 
tendency to consumption, and a face which, without being 
regularly handsome, captivated you by the fire and energy of 
its expression. Photographs could never do her justice, it 
seems, as the want of colour deprived her of that unrivalled 
freshness and fairness which constituted her chief beauty. 
But her real spell lay in the intense vitality which shone out 
of her deep grey eyes, as it glowed through all her writing 
and paintmg. Even the illness which was to carry her 
off added fuel to the flame, and she might well say — " I 
am like a candle cut in four and burning at all ends." 
For consumption, whose first symptoms had already been 
discovered by the doctor of some German watering-place 
when she was only sixteen years old, was unfortunately 
suffered to spread and undermine her constitution. She 
would not, or could not, believe in the reality of the skeleton 
in her cupboard, though a thousand fictitious ones were 
always driving her distracted. The dark shadow so early 
cast across her path threw the high lights of life into 
sharper relief, and no premonitory warning sufficed to make 
her realise the imperative need of taking care of herself. If 
she did so at all, it was only by fits and starts under the stress 
of an attack of laryngitis or pleurisy. She was the despair 
of her physicians. Potain, the great chest doctor, who pro- 



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INTRODUCTION. xxv 

nounced her the most extraordinary and undisciplined of all 

Eatients, refused at one time to have anything more to do with 
er, for she coquetted with Death as much as with one of her 
lovers, dallying and luring him on at whiles, but instinctively 
drawing back when his advances became too marked. Some- 
times, nowever, when she realises his frosty breath so close 
upon her, she shudders instinctively, crying out in anguish 
— "To die; great God to die! Without leaving anything 
behind me! To die, like a dog, like a hundrea thousana 
women whose names are scarcely engraved upon their 
tombstones ! " But this was not all The trouble that 
fretted her above all other trials was a growing deafness, 
which interposed a barrier between her and trie outside 
world. This infirmity seems, in some cases, to accompany 
the pulmonary complaint, and by robbing human intercourse 
of its zest, destroyed her hopes of a brilliant social career. 
On that account it was more norrible to her than the idea ot 
death itself — partly because the misery of it was a dull, 
dreary, monotonous one : whereas to die young was still to 
find " an intoxication in death itself." 

But before the end came her life burned with a clearer, 
more concentrated flame than ever before. She herself is 
taken by surprise at the increasing acuteness of her sensations. 
Time seemed too limited to reproduce the beauty of the 
universe. In fact, painting was but one of the forms through 
which her prodigious sensitiveness found expression. She 
wished to be a sculptor too, so as to express the beauty of 
the human form in its completest manifestation. Music was 
another vent for her intense personality. When she sat down 
to the piano in the moonlight of May to play Beethoven or 
Chopin, all other pleasures became tame by comparison. 
Then would she glide into strange new harmonies, such as 
may sound through an opium-eater's dream. " No one," she 
exclaims, " no one it seems to me, loves everything as much 
as I do." This passage in the Journal has the same ring of 
exaltation as Shelley's " Ode to Delight," when he sings his 
love for 

" The fresh earth in new leaves drest, 
And the starry night ; 
Autumn evening, and the morn, 
When the golden mists are born." 

The year 1884 now dawned — the year which brought Mile. 
Bashkirtseff a striking artistic success ; the closest friendship 
with Bastien-Lepage, the painter she admired above all others 
of her generation ; and the end of all things. Le Meeting, 



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xxvi MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

the picture already spoken of, was exhibited in the Salon 
of '84, and attracted public attention. It had press notices 
in the leading papers, and was reproduced in many of the 
illustrated ones of France, Germany, and Russia. Dealers 
and picture-buyers began to look up the rising artist ; society 
papers described her personal appearance, speaking of her 
as one of the most beautiful girls of Russia. Wnen she 
went out she came in contact with the intellectual £lite 
of France, and was noticed as a person of distinction, and 
a young, charming, elegant woman, all in one. Ah, at 
last, her dreams were translated into reality! She not 
only felt herself a force, she was recognised as such. The 
fact gave a new impetus to her whole nature ; the greatest 
triumph of all being Bastien-Lepage's assurance tnat no 
woman had ever achieved so much at so early an age. . 

Marie's admiration for the painter of Pas Meche, 
Jeamw d'Arc, Le Soir au Village, has a suspicious flavour 
of love about it. At any rate it is the strongest, sweetest, 
most impassioned feeling of her existence, lending a ten- 
der halo to its last phase. Is there anywhere in fiction, 
indeed, a chapter more pathetic, more thrilling than the 
intimacy of these two impressionist painters as we see it growing 
and deepening in the closing scenes of the Journal ? At first 
the presence of " the great, the only, the unique Bastien " 
used to make Marie so nervous that she grew awkward and 
tongue-tied when they met. She even goes the length of 

Erotesting that there is a natural antagonism between them, 
ecause he acts as a check upon her and she taxes herself with 
exaggeration for this excessive enthusiasm only due to a 
master-genius like Wagner. But these doubts and hesitations 

Eassed away on Bastien-Lepage's return from Algiers, whither 
e had gone for health's sake. On his return to Paris in 
the summer of the year '84, Marie and Bastien met nearly 
every day, either in the latter's sick room or else in the 
Bois de Boulogne. 

These were days full of solemn sweetness, when the J/oi- 
Spectateur sometimes left off looking through the microscope, 
and Bastien, whose very name had some time haunted her 
like the refrain of a song, was always so delighted to see 
her, so disappointed when she stayed away. The two families 
met almost daily ; there was a constant interchange of deli- 
cate attentions. The goat which supplied Marie Bashkirtseff 
with milk provided Lepage likewise; pride, shyness, reserve 
vanished, and they became simple and trustful like two 
children clinging to each other wnen left alone in the dark. 



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INTRODUCTION. Xxvii 

She tells of foolish little details, enough to make one weep, 
indeed, she almost dreads Bastien's recovery, which will put a 
stop to this intimacy. 

Alas! there was no fear of that, as became all too soon 
apparent to her. The year was on the wane and they were 
on the wane with it. Day by day the Journal initiates us 
into the mystery of the closing act of life till we seem to 
witness the change, the gradual relaxation of all earthly 
bonds and affections. On coming away from the bedside 
of Bastien, who was sinking fast, Marie often felt quite 
detached from the earth already. The thirst, " the fever called 
living " seemed to be stilled, a painless indifference, the most 
unusual sensation with her, left Marie resigned to everything. 
She already felt herself a shadow drifting with Bastien into the 
shadow land. Indeed, she was very 01 herself — so ill, that 
with all her determination she found herself unable to paint. 
She had begun a picture of La Rue, the subject being a seat 
on the Boulevard des Batignolles, with its customary occu- 
pants. Everything was reaoy to her hand for beginning this 
work. A photograph of the corner of the street had been 
taken, she nad made a preliminary sketch, the canvas was 
placed on the easel ; in short, as she pathetically says, " All is 
ready. It is only I who am missing. 

It was on the 12th of October that, growing from bad to 
worse, Marie was kept in-doors. On the 16th, exhausted with 
fever, she was only able to move from the easy-chair to the 
sofa. Bastien, too weak to walk, was carried to her room on 
the shoulders of his devoted brother flmile. Propped up on 
cushions the two dying artists lay near each other, finding a 
supreme consolation m being together to the last. Marie 
Bashkirtseff, not forgetful of appearances even then, wore a 
tea-ffown of ivory plush with a cloud of soft lace of every 
shade of white. The artist's grey eyes, " eyes which had 
beheld Joan of Arc," as she says, dilated with pleasure as he 
looked at her. She was still beautiful, and his passion for 
art, possibly his passion for the woman, awoke the longing to 
fix her image before she had faded away. As he looked his 
last at the ruddy gold of the hair done up in a simple knot, 
still so bright above the ardent face with its pale velvety 
complexion, the deep-set eyes glowing with a sombre light, 
the light of a soul on fire — no wonder the painter should 
exclaim impulsively : l Oh, if I could only paint ! ' " 

That is all. Tlie picture of the year is finished ! The 
Journal breaks off abruptly on the 20th of October, 1884, 
and eleven days afterwards, on the 31st of the month, shortly 



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xxviii MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

before completing her twenty-fourth year, Marie Bashkirtseft 
had ceaseci to be, and was followed shortly afterwards by 
Bastien-Lepage, so that in their death they were not divided. 
She lies buried in the cemetery at Passy, where a monument 
has been erected to her memory, with some verses by M. 
Theuriet engraved over its portaL 

Could Marie Bashkirtsen have known what a sensation she 
has produced since her untimely end, even her thirst for 
renown might have been appeased. Could she have known 
that her cnief picture was bought by the State within a 
year of her deatn, and now hangs in the Luxembourg along 
with the masterpieces of modern French art ; could she have 
known that her Journal is an enthusiasm to the few, a 
curiosity to the many, and is taking rank among the auto- 
biographies the world will not willingly let die ; could she 
have known of the essay which the spell of her personality 
has drawn from the grand old humanitarian leader of Eng- 
land — could she have known all this, it might have com- 
pensated her for much in her life, and would have spared her 
that haunting dread of perishing with nothing to show that 
she had been — " rien, rien, rien ! " 

Mathilde Blind. 



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AX AUTOGRAPH LETTER OF MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 









a+ m 



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AUTHOR'S PREFACE. 

TVhy tell lies and play a part ? Yes, it is clear that I 
have the wish, if not the hope, of remaining on this earth 
by whatever means in my power. If I do not die young, 
I hope to survive as a great artist ; but if I do, I will have 
my Journal published, which cannot fail to be interesting. 
But as I talk of publicity, this idea of being read has per- 
haps spoilt, nay, destroyed, the sole merit of such a book ? 
Well, no ! To begin with, I wrote for a long time without 
a thought of being read, and in the next place it is pre- 
cisely because I nope to be read that I am absolutely 
sincere. If this book be not the exact, the absolute, the 
strict truth, it has no right to exist.} I not only say all 
the time what I think, out I never contemplated hiding 
for an instant what might make me appear ridiculous, 
or prove to my disadvantage ; for the rest I think myself 
too admirable for censureji Rest assured, therefore, kind 
reader, that I reveal myself completely, entirely. /, 
personally, may, perhaps, possess but a feeble interest for 
you; but do not think that it is I: think, here is a 
niunan being who tells you all its impressions from 
childhood. It cannot help being interesting as a document 
of human nature. Ask M. Zola even M. de Goncourt, or 
Maupassant My diary begins at twelve years of age, and 
begins to have some meaning from the age of fifteen or sixteen. 
Therefore a hiatus remains to be filled up, and I will write a 
kind of preface which will enable the reader to follow this 
human and literary document. 

There — suppose me famous. We begin : — 
I was born on the 11th November, 1860. It is fearful 
even to have to write it; but at any rate, it comforts me 
to remember that when you read this I shall no longer 
be of anv age. 

My father was the son of General Paul Gregorievitch 
BashkirtsefT, who belonged to the gentry, and was a brave, 
obstinate, hard, and even cruel, man. My grandfather was 
raised to the rank of general after the Crimean war, t 
believe. He married a young girl, the adopted daughter 



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xxx MARIE BASHKIRT8EFF. 

of a great nobleman ; she died at the age of eight-and- 
twenty, leaving five children — my father and four sisters. 

My mother got married at one-and-twenty, having 
previously refused many excellent offers. Mamma's maiden 
name was Babanine, and by her we belong to the old 
provincial nobility ; her father always made a boast of his 
Tartar origin, which dated from the first invasion — Baba 
Nina are Tartar words — but for my part, I laugh at it. . . . 
Grandpapa was the contemporary of Lermontotf', Poushkine, 
&c. He had been a Byronian, a poet, soldier, scholar ; he 
had been to the Caucasus. Very early in life he married 
a Miss Julia Cornelius, a very gentle and pretty girl of 
fifteen. They had nine children, if you please, no more ! 

After two years of marriage mamma returned to her 
parents with two children. I was always with my grand- 
mother, who idolised me. Aunt followed her example when 
my mother did not take her with her ; she was younger than 
mamma, but not pretty, and sacrificed herself and was sacri- 
ficed for everyboay. 

In the month of May, 1870, we started on our travels. 
My mother's cherished dream was at last carried out. We 
spent a month in Vienna, enchanted by its novelties, its fine 
shops, and theatres. We reached Baden-Baden in June, at 
the height of the season, astir with Paris and all its luxury. 
Our party consisted of grandpapa, mamma, Aunt Romanoff, 
my first cousin Dina, Paul, and myself. We were also 
accompanied by Lucien Walitzky, our angelic and incom- 
parable doctor. He was a Pole, but without exaggerated 
patriotism, with the kindest heart, the most caressing man- 
ners, and given to caricaturing. He was doctor of the dis- 
trict at Achtirka ; had studiea at the University with my 
mother s brother ; and always made one of the family. When 
we left Russia we wanted a physician for grandpapa, and 
carried off Walitzky. At Baaen-Baden I began to get an 
insight into the fashionable world, and was tortured by 
vanity. . . . 

But I have not said enough of Russia, nor mvself, which 
most concerns us. According to the practice of our gentry 
I had two governesses, one Russian and the other French. 
The Russian lady, whom I well remember, was a Madame 
Melnikoft', a woman of the world, well educated, and romantic, 
who, being separated from her husband, had elected to turn 
teacher after the perusal of numerous novels. She became 
the friend of the family, and was treated like one of us. 
Every man paid court to her, and she ran away one fine 



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AUTHOR'S PREFACE. xxxi 

morning after I know not what romantic episode. We are 
very romantic in Russia. She might easily have said good- 
bye, and left in the usual way ; but the Slav character 
inoculated with French civilisation and romantic literature 
is a curious product. This governess, acting up to her part 
of unhappy wife, naturally adored the little girl entrusted to 
her care ; and I, already entering into the spirit of the thing, 
returned her adoration. Indeed, the whole family affected to 
think that her disappearance must make me ill ; everybody 
looked at me pityingly that day, and I believe that my 
grandmother had some special soup prepared for mo 
which is usually given to invalids. I felt myself growing 
quite pale before such a show of sympathy. I was, in truth, 
rather frail, delicate, and not pretty — a met which did not 

Srevent everybody from considering me as a being inevitably 
estined by fate to become one day everything that is 
beautiful, brilliant, and magnificent. My mother went to a 
Jewish fortune-teller. 

" You have two children," said he ; " the son will be 
like the rest of the world, but your daughter will be a 
star." .... 

One evening at the theatre a gentleman said to me, 
laughing : — 

" Show me your hands, young lady .... Oh ! To judge 
from her gloves there's no doubt she'll be a terrible flirt." 

It made me quite proud. * Since I can remember, since 
the age of three (I had a wet-nurse till I was three-and-a- 
half), I had aspired to future greatness. All my dolls were 
kings and queens ; and my thoughts, and all that was talked 
of in our family, seemed continually to have some reference 
to the triumphs which must inevitably come to me. 

At five I dressed myself in my mother's laces, with 
flowers in my hair, in order to dance in the drawing-room. 
I was the famous ballet-dancer Pepita, and all the family 
came and looked at me. Paul was hardly noticed, and Dina 
bore me no grudge, though the daughter of the favourite 
George. One story more. When Dina was born, grand- 
mamma, without so much as saying by your leave, took her 
from her mother, and kept her ever afterwards. This hap- 
pened before my birth. 

Mme. Melnikoff was succeeded by Mile. Sophie Dolgi- 
koflf, a young lady of sixteen. Holy Russia! After her 
came another French lady, rSlme. Brenne, with pale blue 
eyes and hair dressed in the style of the Restoration — a sad 
creature with her fifty years and her consumptive habit. I 



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xnrii MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

liked her very much. She taught me drawing, and I drew a 
little church in outline with her. In fact, I sketched a great 
deal ; while the old ones played at cards I sat by and drew 
on the card-table. 

Mme. Brenne died in 1868 in the Crimea. The little 
Russian governess, treated like one of us, was on the eve of 
getting married to a young man whom the doctor had intro- 
duced, and who was known as having been jilted repeatedly. 
On this occasion everything seemed to go on swimmingly, 
when, on going into Mile. Sophie's room one evening, I 
found her dissolved in tears with her nose buried in the 
cushions. 

" Everyone's come," I cried. " What on earth's the 
matter ? " 

At last, after copious tears and sobs, the poor child con- 
fessed that she never could — no, never ! . . . . and fresh tears. 

" But why ? " 

" Because, because I can't get used to his face." 

The young man heard all this from the drawing-room. 
An hour afterwards he packed his trunk, weeping bitterly, and 
departed. It was the seventeenth time he had been jilted. 
How well I remember the girl's words — " I can't get used to 
his face ! " It came from the bottom of her heart, and I 
understood perfectly what a horrible thing it would be to 
marry a man whose face one couldn't get used t£j 

All this carries us back to Baden-Baden in 1870. War 
having been declared, we hurried oft* to Geneva ; I, full of 
discontent and determined to have my turn. Every day, 
before going to bed, I added the following words in a low 
voice to my prayer : 

" Grant, O Lord, that I may never have the small-pox, 
that I may be pretty, and have a fine voice ; that I may be 
happy in my married life, and that mamma may live 
long!" 

In Geneva we stayed at the Crown Hotel, near the Lake. 
I had a drawing-master, who brought me sketches to copy — 
little ch&lets whose windows were drawn like trunks of trees, 
not a bit like the real windows of real chalets. So I would 
have none of them, not seeing how a window could look 
thus. Whereupon the good old man bade me simply copy 
the view from my winaow. Just then we left the Crown 
Hotel and went to board with a family from whose house 
one had a view of Mont Blanc. So I scrupulously copied 
what I saw of Geneva and the lake, and the thing stopped 
there, I can't remember why. In Baden we had had time 



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AUTHOR'S PREFACE. xxxiii 

to have our portraits taken after some photographs, and 
they appeared ugly to ine by dint of being smooth and 
prettified. . . . 

When I am dead people will read my life, which to me 
seems very remarkable. Were it not so it would be the 
climax of misery. But I hate prefaces and editors' notes, 
and have missed reading many excellent Looks on this 
account. That's why I've wished to write my own preface. 
It could have been dispensed with had the whole diary 
been published ; but I think it best to begin with my 
thirteenth year, the preceding part being too long. The 
reader, however, will find sufficient data to go upon in the 
course of this narrative, for I frequently make references 
to the past, now for one reason, now for another. (Suppose 
I were to die now quite suddenly, seized by some illness; 
perhaps I should not know of my danger ; they would 
conceal it from me ; and, after my death my drawers would 
be ransacked, and my family would discover mv Journal, 
and, having read, would destroy it. Soon afterwards nothing 
would remain of me — nothing .... nothing .... nothing ! 
.... It is this which has always terrified me. To live, 
to have so much ambition, to suffer, weep, struggle — and 
then oblivion ! . . . . oblivion .... as if I had never be en.} 
Should I not live long enough to become famous, this 
Journal will be of interest to naturalists ; for the life of a 
Ionian must always be curious, told thus day by day, 
without any attempt at posing ; as if no one in the world 
would ever read it, yet written with the intention of being 
read ; for I feel quite sure the reader will find me sym- 
pathetic And I tell all, ves, all ... . Else what 

were the use of it ? In fact, it will be sufficiently apparent 
that I tell everything 

Paris, 1st May, 1884. 



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MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, 1876. 



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THE JOURNAL 



OF 



MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 



CHAPTER I. 

JANUARY (AT TWELVE YEARS OF AGE).— NICE— PROMENADE 
DES ANGLAIS— VILLA ACQUA VIVA, 1873. 

Aunt Sophie is playing some melodies of the Ukraine on 
the piano, and that reminds me of our country house. I am 
carried back thither and all my memories recall poor grand- 
mamma. Tears rise to my eyes ; they fill them and begin to 
flow ; they are flowing alreaay. . . . Poor grandmamma ! It 
makes me unhappy that you are no longer here ! How you 
loved me and 1 you ! But I was too little to love you as 
much as you deserved ! The remembrance of grandmamma 
is venerable, sacred, and beloved, but it is no longer living. 
God grant I may be happy, and I shall be grateful. What 
am I saying ? Am I not here in order to be happy ? O 
God, let me be happy ! 

Aunt Sophie is still playing ; the notes reach me from 
time to time and penetrate my souL I have no lessons to 
learn for to-morrow, it is the fete day of Sophie. God, 

rive me the Duke of H ! ... I'll love nim and make 

him happy ; I'll be happy too, and kind to the poor. It is 
sinful to believe one can purchase the grace of God by good 
works, but I can't express myself properly. 

I'm in love with the Duke of H , and can't tell him so ; 

even if I did he would pay no heed. While he was here I 
had an object in going out and dressing myself, but now ! . . . 
I went on the terrace m the hope of seeing him, at least for an 
instant, in the distance. God, ease my pain, I can't pray 
any more, but listen to my prayer ! Thy grace is so infinite, thy 
mercy so great, thou hast done so mucn for me ! It grieves 
me so not to see him on the Promenade. He looked so 
distinguished among the vulgar crowd of Nice. 

o 2 



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2 MARIE BA8BK1UTSEFF. 

R Mme. Howard invited us yesterday to spend Sunday with 
her children. We were just going when Mme. Howard 
told us she had seen mamma and got her leave to keep us 
till evening. We stayed, and after dinner went into the 
salon, which was dark, and the young ladies begged me to 
sing, and went on their knees as well as the cnildren ; we 
laughed a great deal I sang " Santa Lucia," " The sun has 
risen," and a few rmdades. They were so enchanted that they 
fell to kissing me most awfully — that's the word. Could I 
produce the same impression on the public I would certainly 
go on the stage this very day. 

It moves one so much to be admired for something more 
than one's dress ! I am really quite delighted with the 

children's exclamations of admiration What would it 

be if I were admired by others ? . . . . 

I was made for emotions, for success ; the best I can do, 
therefore, is to turn singer. If God would only have the 
goodness to preserve, strengthen, and increase my voice, I 
could achieve the success I long for. I could have the satis- 
faction of being known, admired, famousf and in that way I 
could secure him I love. If I remain as lam I have little hope 
that he will ever love me, for he knows nothing of my existence 
even. But when he sees me famous, successful ! . . . . Men 
are ambitious ! . . . . Then, too, I can be received in society, for 
I shall not be a celebrity sprung from God knows where ! I am 
of noble extraction and there's no need for my making a 
living ; this will ensure greater success and enable me to rise 
with more facility. Life will be perfect thus. I dream of 
nothing but fame, of being known all the world over. 

^ancy appearing on the boards, of seeing thousands of 
spectators waiting with beating hearts for the moment you 
will begin to sing ! To know as you look at them that they'll 
be at your feet at a note from your voice ! To survey them 
haughtily! (I am fit for most things). This is my dream; 
this, this is life, happiness, everything. And then in the 

midst of it all, the Duke of H will come, like the rest of my 

adorers, but he won't be received like the others. Dear, you 
will be dazzled by my splendour, you will love me ; you will 
see me famous, and you certainly deserve such a woman as I 
hope to become. I am not plain, nay, I am even pretty, yes, 
certainly pretty. I am extremely well-made, like a statue. 
I have good nair on the whole, and my manners have a 
coquetry of their own. I know how to behave to men. 

I am a good girl, and shall never allow any man but my 
husband to kiss me, and not all little girls from twelve to 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 3 

fourteen can boast as I can of never having kissed or been 
kissed by any man. And when he sees a young lady who has 
reached the highest pinnacle of fame a woman can attain, who 
is pure and virtuous, and has loved him faithfully from her 
childhood, he will be so surprised that he will wish to have 
me at any price, and marry me from sheer pride. But what 
am I saying? Why shouldn't I suppose him capable of 
loving me ? Oh yes, with God's help ! Has God not helped 
me to find out a way of securing him I love ? . . . . I 
return thanks, O GodJJ 

Fi*iday, March 14th. — This morning I heard a noise of 
wheels in the Rue de France ; I looked out, and saw the Duke 

of H driving four-in-hand towards the Promenade. If he 

is here he will take part in the pigeon-shooting in April ; I 
shall certainly go. 

To-day I've again seen the Duke of H . Nobody 

carries himself as well as he ; he has quite the air of a king in 

his carriage. I saw G * several times at the Promenade 

dressed in black. She is beautiful, owing rather to her dress 
than to her personal appearance ; everything about her is 
perfect, nothing is wanting ; all is rich, elegant, in the best 
taste. She might really be mistaken for a great lady. It is 
natural that all this should contribute to her beauty : — her 
house with its drawing-rooms, its little recesses whose light is 
subdued by draperies or green leaves ; she herself, with hair 
and dress arranged to perfection, sitting, queen-like, in a 
magnificent salon, furnished and decorated in a way to 
enhance her charms. It is but natural she should please 
him and that he should love her. Given her surroundings, I 
should look still better. *T should be happy with my husband, 
for I would not neglect myself; I should pay as much at- 
tention to my person in order to please him as I did when I 
wished to do so for the first time. For that matter, I can't 
understand why a man and woman should love and try to 
please each other continually before marriage, and then ne- 
glect each other after it. Why imagine that it all passes 
away with marriage and that afi that remains is a cold and 
sedate friendship ? Why profane the idea of marriage by 
picturing the wife in curl-papers and dressing-gown, with her 
nose covered with cold cream, and trying to extract money 
from her husband for her gowns ? . . . . 

Why should a woman neglect her appearance before the 
very man whom she ought to be most anxious to please ?^ 

* The mistress of tl\e dufce, 



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4 MABTE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

\ I can't see why one should treat a husband like a domestic 
animal, whereas one wished to please the same man before 
marriage. Why should a woman not always remain co- 
quettish with her husband and treat him as she would a 
stranger who is pleasing to her ? With this difference, 
however, that she must suffer no liberties from a stranger. 
Is it because husband and wife may love each other openly, 
because it's no crime and because marriage is blessed by God. ? 
Is it because what's not forbidden is worthless ? and because 
people only like the things they must enjoy in secret ? Dear 
me, this shouldn't be. I think very differently of these 
^things. 

I strain my voice to sing, and spoil it, and have sworn on 
that account not to sing any more (an oath which I have 
broken a hundred times) till I shall take lessons and I pray 
that my voice may be purified, strengthened, and increased. 
In order to prevent my singing I attach the dreadful penaltv 
to it that I may lose my voice if I do so. It's awful ; but \ 
shall do everything to keep my promise. 

' Friday, December 30. — Wore to-day an antediluvian 
frock, my little skirt, and overcoat of black velvet. Dina's 
tunic and sleeveless jacket does very well. I was much looked 
at ; it must be because I know how to wear my clothes, and 
have an elegant carriage (I had the air of a little old woman). 
I should like to know why people look at me, whether it is 
because I am odd or pretty. I would give much to whoever 
told me the truth. Ifeel inclined to ask somebody (a young 
man) if I am pretty. I always like to think what's pleasant, 
and I like to think that on the whole it's because I'm pretty. 
I may, perhaps, be mistaken ; but if it's an illusion I would 
sooner keep it, as it is flattering. Why not ? is it not de- 
sirable to make the best of things in this world ? Life is 
so beautiful and so shortjj 

I wonder what my brother Paul will do when he's grown 
up, what profession he will choose, for he can't spend his 
life in doing nothing, as so many people — dawdle away his 
time and then mix with gamblers and cocottes, fie ! He can't 
afford it for one thing. Every Sunday I intend writing 
him a sensible letter, not stuffed with good advice, but like a 
comrade. No doubt I shall know how to do it, and with 
God's help I may gain some influence over him, for he must 
be a man. 

I have been so pre-occupied that I almost forgot the 
. Puke's absence ! . . . (What a shame !) Such a gulf separates 



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NIGB, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 5 

us, Especially if we go to Russia this summer ! It is talked of 
seriously. How can I believe I shall <*et him ? He thinks no 
more of me than of last winter's snow ; I don't exist for him. If 
we remain in Nice this winter I may still hope, but I fear 
that when we leave for Russia all hopes are at an end ; every- 
^thinff I thought possible fades away ; I suffer a slow dull pain 
whicn is horrible, I lose what I hoped might be attainable. I 
am passing through a sorrowful experience, a transformation 
of my whole being. How strange it is ! A moment ago I was 
thinking of the delights of pigeon-shooting, and now the 
saddest thoughts are passing through my head. 

Oh God ! these thoughts are crushing me ; I shall die of 
misery at the thought that he will never love me ! I have no 
hope, I was mad to wish something so impossible. I wanted 
what was too beautiful. Ah no, I must not give way thus! 
Why should I despair! Is there not an all-powerful deity 
who watches over me ? How dare I have such thoughts ! 
Is He not everywhere, protecting us always ? Nothing is 
impossible for Him, He is all-powerful ; for Him there is 
neither time nor distance. I may be in Peru and the Duke 
in Africa, and if He pleases He may reunite us. How 
could I even for a minute entertain such desperate fancies, 
how could I forget His divine goodness for a second ? Is it 
because He does not grant me my wish at once that I dare 
deny it ? No, no ; He is too merciful, He will not allow my 
beautiful soul to be torn by cruel doubts ! 

This morning I pointed out a coalheaver to my governess 
Mile. Colignon, saying " Do look how like this man is to the 

Duke of H ." " What nonsense ! " she said, smiling. It 

gave me immense pleasure to pronounce his name. But I 
perceive that if one never speaks to any one of him one loves, 
this love grows stronger, whereas if one speaks of him 
continually (this is not my case) love diminishes ; it is like 
bottled spirits of wine, if corked, the smell is strong, but if 
you open it, it gradually evaporates. This is precisely like 
my love, for I never hear it spoken of, I never speak of it, I 
keep it entirely to myself. 

M am very much depressed ; I have no positive idea what 
my future is to be, I mean I know well enough what I 
should like but not what I shall get. How gay I was last 
winter ! Everything was full of promise and hope. I love a 
shadow that 1 shall perhaps never obtain. I am wretched 
about my gowns, I cried about it. I went to two dressmakers 
with my aunt; but they are spoilt. I shall A\rite to Paris, I 
can't endure the gowns here, it makesjme too wretched^ 



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6 MARIE BASRKIliTSEFF. 

It is the tirst day of our Holy Week ; I was at church this 
evening and said iny prayers. 

I must confess there are many things in our religion which 
I don't like, but it is not for me to think of reforming them. 
I believe in God, in Jesus Christ, in the Virgin Mary, I pray 
to God every evening, and I don't want to be taken up with 
trifles which have nothing to say to true religion and true belief. 

I believe in God, He is good to me and gives me more than 
is needful. Oh, if He coula give me what I so ardently wish 
for ! God will have pity on me ; although I could do without 
that which I ask for, I should be so happy if the Duke 
noticed me, and I would thank God. 

I must write his name, for I neither mention it to anybody 
nor even write it down. I cannot live any longer. I shall 
burst, on my honour S It will at least relieve my pain to write it. 

On our walk to-day I saw a young man in a hired carriage, 
tall, thin, and dark ; I thought I recognised some one I knew. 

A cry of surprise escaped me. Oh, caro H ! They asked 

what was the matter, and I said Mile. Colignon had trodden 
on iny toe. 

He has nothing of his brother about him; all the same I 
was glad to see him. Oh, if at least we could make his 
acquaintance, for through him we might get to know the Duke ! 
I love this one like a brother, I love him because he is his 

brother. At dinner, Walitzky said, all at once, " H ! " I 

blushed, got confused, and went towards the cupboard. Mamma 
blamed me for this cry, saying that my reputation, etc. etc. ; 
that it was wrong. I think she must guess a little, for each 
time some one mentions his name I blush or leave the room 
suddenly. She doesn't scold me. 

*They are sitting quietly chatting in the dining-room, 
thinking me engaged with my studies. They have no idea of 
what is passing in me nor what I am thinking of. I must 

either be the Duchess of H , the wish I have most at 

heart (God knows how much I love him), or a celebrity of the 
stage; but this latter alternative attracts me less than the 
first. It is no doubt flattering to be admired by the whole 
world from the most insignificant individual to the greatest 
sovereigns, but the other ! . . . . Yes, I'll have the man I 
love, he is of quite another sort and I give him the preference. 
A great lady, a duchess! I would rather be in society 
than be the first among the world's celebrities, for in that case 
I shall be of another worldj 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 7 

May 6th. — Mamma is up, and Mile. C too, for she has 

been ill It was so fine, so clear after the rain, and the trees 
looked so beautiful in the sunshine, that I could not go on with 
my lessons, especially as I have time to-day. I went to the 
garden, and put my chair near the fountain ; it made a magni- 
ficent picture, for the fountain has tall trees round it, shut- 
ting out heaven and earth. You see a little stream, with 
rocks covered with moss, and all kinds of trees lit by the sun. 
The lawn was so soft and green that I was really tempted to 
roll about on it. The whole formed a kind of bower, so soft and 
green and beautiful that it would be useless for me to try and 
describe it, for I shouldn't succeed. If the villa and garden 
remain unchanged, I shall take him to see the spot where I 
have thought so much of him. Yesterday evenmg in nvy 
prayers I entreated God to grant that I might make his 
acquaintance — that he might be mine — and I wept on my 
knees. Three times already has He granted my prayers. The 
first time I asked for a croquet set, and my aimt brought it 
me from Geneva ; the second time I asked His help to learn 
English. I prayed and wept so much, and my imagination 
was so wrought up, that it seemed as if an image of the 
Virgin in a corner of the room were giving the promise. I 
should even now recognise the image. 

*I have been expecting Mile. Colignon for my lessons 
during the last hour and a half, and it's the same every day. 
And mamma blames me, and knows not that I am vexed, that 

my heart is hot with anger and indignation! Mile. C 

misses the lessons, and makes me lose my time. 

I am thirteen years old ! If I lose my time what is to 
become of me ? 

My blood boils. I am quite pale, and the blood suddenly 
goes to my head ; my cheeks burn, my heart beats, and I 
can't stay a moment in the same place. The tears weigh on 
my heart, and though I manage to keep them back it only 
makes me more miserable. AU this ruins my health, spoils 
my temper, and makes me impatient and irritable. The 
people who pass their lives in peace show it in their faces, but 
I get irritated every instant ! That is to say, in robbing me of 
my lessons she really robs me of my life. 

At sixteen and seventeen preoccupations of another kind 
will engross me. Now is the time for studyj It is lucky 
that I am not a little girl shut up in a convent, who, on enter- 
ing the world, plunges madly m the midst of gaieties, and 
believes whatever fashionable fops may please to tell her, and 



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8 MARIE BASHKIBT8EFF. 

finds herself disappointed and disenchanted a few months 
after. 

I don't want any one to think that as soon as my studies 
are done T shall only think of dancing and dressing myself. 
No ; but when I have done with lessons I intend seriously to 
study painting, music, and singing. I have talents for all 
three of them, and a great deal too ! What a relief it is to 
write ! I feel more calm. All this annoyance spoils not only 
my health but my temper and my features. When I get hot 
like that, and my cheeks burn like fire, they lose their fresh 
look and rosiness. . . This colour which I ought always to 

have leaves me looking pale and ruffled. It is Mile. C 's 

fault, being due to the irritation of which she is the cause. I 
even have little headaches after getting into this kind of 
fever. And mamma blames me — says it's my fault if I don't 
speak English. How provoking ! 

I think that if he reads this Journal one day he will think 
it foolish, especially my declarations of love. I have repeated 
them so often that they have lost all their meaning. 

Mme. Savelieff is dying ; we are going to see her ; she has 
been unconscious for two days, and unable to speak. Old 
Mme. Paton is with her. At first I saw nothing, though I 
looked for the sick woman in the bed. Then I caught sight 
of her head, but she has changed from a stout woman into 
quite an emaciated one. Her mouth was wide open, her eyes 
glazed, her breathing difficult. People talked in subdued 
tones. She made no sign. The doctors say that she feels 
nothing, but I think that she hears and understands every- 
thing that's going on around her, but can neither cry out nor 
say anything. \\ hen mamma touched her she gave a kind of 
groan. Old Savelieff met us on the stairs, and, bursting into 
tears, he took mamma's hand, and said, sobbing, " You are ill, 
too, and take no care of yourself ; look to it, poor dear ! " 
Then I kissed him in silence. His daughter came next ; she 
threw herself on the bed, calling her mother. She has 
been in this state for five days past. To see one's mother 
dying day by day ! I went into another room with the old 
man. How he has aged in these few days! Everybody 
else has some consolation. His daughter has her children, 
but he is alone! He has lived with his wife for thirty 
years, and that is something. Did he live well or ill witn 
her ? But habit counts for much. I went back several 
times to the sick woman. The housekeeper is quite beside 
herself; it does one good to see so much affection for 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 9 

her mistress in a servant. The old man is almost turning 
childish. 

Ah ! when one considers, how miserable is man ! Every 
beast when it pleases may look as it likes ; it needn't smile 
when it feels inclined to weep. When it has no wish to see 
its kind it does not see them, out man is the slave of everything 
and everybody. And yet I inflict the same thing on myself; 
I like to go and see others ; I like them to come and see me. 

It's tne tirot time I do a thing against my inclination ; vet, 
how often shall I be obliged to smile when I feel inclined to 
weep, and vet it's of my own accord that I've chosen this life 
— this worldly life ! Ah ! but I shall have no trouble of this 
sort when I am grown up. When he is with me I shall 
always be gay. 

Mme. Savelieff died last night. Mamma and I went to 
her house. A great many ladies were there. What shall I 
say of this scene ? Grief to the right, grief to the left, grief 
up in the ceiling, grief down on the floor, grief in the flame 
of every taper, grief in the air itself. Her daughter, Mme. 
Paton, has had a fit of hysterics, and everybody wept. I 
kissed her hands, and made her come and sit beside me. I 
wanted to say some words of comfort to her, but could not. 
What comfort is there except time ! And then all the conso- 
lations I could think of seemed stupid and commonplace. I 
said that the person most to be pitied was the old man who 
remained alone! alone! alone! . . . Oh God! what's to 
be done ? I say all must come to an end. That's my argu- 
ment. But if one of us died it would have no weight with me. 

I had quite a discussion to-day with my drawing-master, 
M. Binsa I told him I wanted to study seriously, and to 
begin at the beginning; that what I was doing taught me 
nothing ; that it was waste of time ; and that next Monday I 
want to begin drawing. He's not to blame if he did not make 
me study seriously. He thought that I had had lessons 
before, and had been in the habit of drawing eyes, mouths, 
etc. . . . And this drawing they showed him was the first 
one I had done in my life, and quite by myself. 

This is a day rather different from the others, which are 
so monotonous and always the same. At my arithmetic 

lesson I asked Mile. C to explain something to me. She 

remarked that I ought to make it out for myself. I pointed 
out to her that what I don't know ought to be explained to me. 

" There is no question of ought in the matter/' said she. 



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10 MAMIE BASHKIRT8EFF. 

" There is an oxvght in everything," I replied " Wait a 
minute and I will try and solve this first difficulty before 
passing on to the second." I spoke in an extra calm voice, 
and she was furious to find nothing rude in my words. She 
robs me of my time ; here are four months of my life 
wasted .... It's easy to say she is ill ; but why should I 
be the sufferer ? She spoils my future happiness by wasting 
my time. Each time I ask her to explain something she rives 
me a rude answer. I won't be spoken to like that ; she's irrit- 
able being ill, but it makes her unbearable. Just at the time 
when I get very annoyed, nay angry, I grow unnaturally 
calm. My tone vexed her, she expected an outburst of anger 
on my side. 

" i ou are thirteen years old ; how dare you ! " 

" Precisely, mademoiselle, because I am thirteen years old, 
as you remark, I won't be spoken to in this way ; don't shout, 
I beg of you." She exploded like a shell, with all manner of 
horrid speeches. To all her incivilities I replied quite 
placidly, which only enraged her the more. 

" It s the last lesson I give you ! " 

" Oh, so much the better ! " said I. When she left the 
room I heaved a long sigh like one who is delivered from a 
hundredweight of books tied round his throat. I left the 
room full of contentment to look for mamma. She ran after 
me in the passage and began afresh. I stuck to my tactics 
and said nothing. We went along the passage to mamma's 
room together, she like a * fury, and I with the most imper- 
turbable air. I went to my room, and she asked for permission 
to speak to mamma. 

I had a horrible dream last night. We were in a strange 
house, when I, or some one else whom I can't remember, 
looked suddenly out of the window. I saw the sun growing 
bigger and covering nearly half the heavens, but it emittea 
neitner light nor heat. Then it broke up and one-fourth dis- 
appeared, the rest fell into fragments which changed their 
colour and bathed us in gold ; then half of it was covered by 
a cloud. We all cried out, " The sun is standing still ! " 
Just as if we usually saw it turn round. For a few instants 
it remained motionless, but dim. Then the earth herself 
became something unnatural, not that she exactly lost her 
balance, but it's not to be described, the thing is inconceivable 
in everyday existence. There are no words to express what 
we don't understand. Then the sun began to turn round like 
two wheels one within the other ; that is to say the bright sun 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 11 

was covered at intervals by a cloud as round as itself. The 
confusion erew general, and I asked myself whether the end 
of the world had come ; but I hoped that it might only be for 
a moment. Mamma was not witn us, she arrived in a kind of 
omnibus, and did not seem afraid. Everything was strange, for 
this omnibus was not like others. I then began looking out 
my dresses ; we began packing our things m a little box. 
But thereupon it began all over again. It is the end 
of the world, and I ask myself why God has not forewarned 
me, and I ask myself how I can be worthy to be present at 
this day, in the flash. Everybody was frightened, and we got 
into a carriage with mamma, and returned to I know not 
where 

What is the meaning of this dream ? Has God sent it 
to prepare me for a great event, or is it simply a matter of 
nerves ? 

Mile. goes to-morrow. It's a little sad all the 

same ; it makes one sad to part even from a dog with whom 
one has been living. In spite of the good or bad terms we 
were on, I have a heartache. 

In passing Gioia's villa my attention was attracted by 
the little terrace to the right. There it was that I saw him 
sitting with her last year in going to the races. He was sitting 
in his usual noble and graceful way, holding a cake. I re- 
member all those trifling things so well ! 

We looked at him in passing, and he at us. He is the only 
one mamma talks about ; she is very fond of him and I am 

delighted. She said, " You see, if H chooses to eat cakes, 

why shouldn't he ? he is at home here." I could not yet account 
to myself for the kind of confusion I felt in seeing nira. Only 
now I begin to understand it, and I remember the least details 
about him, and his most insignificant words. 

When Reini came to tell me at the races at Baden that he 

had just been speaking to the Duke of H , my heart gave 

a leap which puzzled me. And then when Gioia was sitting 
beside us at those same races and speaking of him, I hardly 
listened to her. Oh ! what wouldn't I give to be able to hear 
those words to-day. And when I passed the English shops he 
was there and looked at me derisively as much as to say : 
"What a funny little girl this is, what can she be thinking 
of ? "... . He was quite right, I was very funny, with my 
little silk frocks — indeed, I was ridiculous ! I did not look at 
him, and yet every time I met him my heart beat so violently 
that it hurt me. I don't know whether any one else has 



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12 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

experienced the same thing; but I get frightened when my 
heart beats so loudly lest any one should hear it. Formerly 
I used to think that the heart was a mere piece of flesn, 
but I see now that it's in communication with the mind. 

I understand now when one savs, " How my heart beats ! " 
Formerly, when I went to the theatre I paid no attention 
when some one said so ; now I recognise the emotions which I 
have experienced. 

The neart is a piece of flesh which communicates with the 
brain by means of a little string, which in its turn receives 
the news from the eyes or the ears, and all this causes the 
heart to speak to you, because the little string is moved and 
makes it beat more than usual, and sends the blood to your 
face. 

Time passes like an arrow. In the morning I do my 
lessons ; at two I practise. The Apollo Belvidere that I 
am about to copy is a little like the duke ; especially when 
one examines the expression, the resemblance is striking. 
The same way of holding the head, and the nose exactly like 
his. 

My music-master, Manoti, is delighted with me this 
morning. I played part of Mendelssohn's Concerto in E minor 
without a single mistake. The next day at the Russian 
Church, the festival of the Trinity. The church was deco- 
rated with flowers and leaves. There were prayers, and the 
priest prayed for forgiveness of sins ; he mentioned them all 
as he knelt in prayer. What he said was so applicable to 
myself that I remained motionless listening and joining in the 
prayer. 

This is the second time I have praved well in church ; the 
first time was on New Year's Day. Mass has become so com- 
monplace, and the things spoken of are not everyone's every- 
day concerns. I go to Mass, but I don't pray. The prayers 
and the psalms thev sing have no bearing on the feelings of 
my heart and soul Thev prevent my praying in peace, 
whereas these Te Deums, where the priest prays for all of us, 
so that each one may find something to suit him, touch 
me to thejjuick 

T Paris. — At last I have found what I wished for without 
knowing it. To live means Paris ! . . . Paris means to 
live. I made a martyr of myself because I didn't know what 
I wanted. Now that I see more clearly, I know what I want. 
Move from Nice to Paris, furnish a flat, and have horses just 
as at Nice ; to be introduced to society by the ambassador of 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 13 

Russia ; this, this it is I want. How happy one is when one 
knows what one wants ! There's something, however, which 
tortures me ; I think I am plain. It's horrible !i 

We have been to the photographer Valery, 9, Rue de 

Londres, and I saw the photograph of G . How beautiful 

she is ! But in ten years she will be old ; in ten years I shall 
be grown up ; I might be handsome if I were taller. I was 
taken eight times. The photographer said, " If it succeeds 
this time I shall be satisfied." We left without knowing how 
it had turned out. 

After our last walk in town we arrived in time to take 
our departure. 

A thunderstorm burst overhead; the lightning was ter- 
rible. Sometimes it struck the ground in the distance, leaving 
a silvery furrow in the sky as narrow as a Roman candle. 

Nice. — To be in Nice is to be in exile ; but I must chiefly 
give my attention to arranging the days and hours with my 
teachers. On Monday I recommence my lessons, so abomin- 
ably interrupted by Mile. Colignon. 

The gav world will return with the winter, and will bring 
gaiety with it. It will no longer be Nice, but a little Paris, 
and the races ! Nice has its good points. Nevertheless, the 
six or seven months we must spend here seem to me like a 
sea that I must cross without losing sight of the lighthouse 
which guides me. I have no hope of landing ; no, I only 
hope at present to see this land, and the sight alone will give 
me strength and energy to live till next year. And then ? 
and then ?....! really don't know ! . . . . but 
I hope and trust in God, in His divine goodness, so I don't 
lose neart. 

" He whom God has in His keeping will find peace in the 
mercy of the Almighty. He will cover thee with His wings ; 
thou wilt be safe beneath their stay ; His truth will be thy 
shield ; thou shalt neither be afraid of the arrow that flietn 
by night nor of the pestilence that walketh at noonday ! " 

I cannot express how much I am moved, and how deeply 
I feel the goodness of God towards me. 

Mamma is in bed, and we are all sitting by her bedside, 
when the doctor, on returning from the Patons, tells us that 
Abramowich is dead ! How terrible, strange, and incredible ! 
I can't believe that he is dead. One can't die when one is so 
charming, and amiable ! It always seems to me that he will 
come back next winter with his famous overcoat and plaid, 
Death is frightful! I am really very sorry for his death. 



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14 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

Is it possible that people like the G 's the S J s live on, 

while a young man like Abramowich must die! We are 
all stunned Even Dina uttered an involuntary exclamation. 
I hasten to write to Helen Howard. Everybody was in my 
room when we heard the sad news. 

June 9th. — I have begun drawing, but feel tired, languid, 
and unfit for work. These summers at Nice are killing me ; 
not a soul in the place. I suffer, and feel ready to cry. One 
can live but once. To pass a summer at Nice is to lose half 
one's life. Now I am crying; a tear has dropped on the 
paper. Oh, if mamma and the others knew how much it 
cost me to stop here, they would not keep me in this horrible 
desert. I am not preoccupied with him — it is so long since 
any one has mentioned his name. He seems to be dead. And 
I live in a sort of fog ; I can hardly recall the past, and the 
present seems hideous ! .... I am quite altered ; my 
voice is hoarse, my face ugly ; formerly, on waking, I used to 
look fresh and rosy. .... But what is fretting me so ? 
What has happened ? What is going to happen ? 
f The villa Bacchi is let. It is really a great trial to live 
there ; it may be very well for a bourgeois, but for us it is 

different As for me, I am an aristocrat. I'd 

sooner have a broken-down gentleman than a rich bourgeois ; 
an old piece of satin or tarnished gilding, weather-beaten 
columns, or faded ornament, have more charm for me than 
the most costly furniture which is showy and wanting in taste. 
A real gentleman will not be vain of highly-polished boots 
and tight-fitting gloves. Not that one ought to be careless 
about dress — by no means. But what a difference there is 
between the negligence of the noble and the negligence of the 
ineedy ! 

We are about to leave this flat, and I am sorry for it ; not 
because it is comfortable and handsome, but because I am 
used to it, and feel as if it were an old friend. To think that 
I shall never see my dear little study again. How much I 
have thought of him in that room ! This table on which I 
am leaning, and where I used to write every day what my 
soul holds most sacred. These walls I looked upon, wishing I 
could pierce them and go far, far away. I saw him in every 
flower of the wall-paper ! What scenes I pictured to myself 
in this study, where ne played the principal part! I fancy 
there's not a thing in this world, from the simplest to the 
strangest, that I dion't think of in this little room. 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 15 

This evening Paul, Dina, and I, sat together, and then they 
left me alone. The moon was shining into my room and 1 
did not light the candles. I went out on the terrace and 
could hear the sound of violins, guitars, and flutes, in the 
distance. I came in again quickly and sat down near the 
window so as to hear better. It was a charming trio. I have 
not listened to music with so much pleasure for a long time. 
At a concert one is more occupied in looking at the audience 
than in listening, but this evening, quite alone in the moon- 
light, I may say 1 devoured this serenade, for it really was one. 
Some young men of Nice gave us a serenade. Could anything 
be more gallant ? Unfortunately, the- young men in society 
won't hear of such amusements, they prefer passing their 

time at music-halls, while real music What can 

be more charming than to sing serenades as they did in Spain 
of old ? Upon my word, next to having horses I could wish 
for nothing better than to pass the rest of my existence be- 
neath the window of my charmer, and finish up at her feet 

I do so want a horse ! Mamma has promised me one, and 
my aunt also. I went to her room one evening in my airy 
manner and asked her for it most enthusiastically ; she has 

f'ven me her promise. I went to bed feeling quite happy, 
verybody tells me I am pretty ; but really and truly I don't 
think so. My pen refuses to write it. I am only pre- 
possessing, and pretty now and then, but I am happy. . . . 

1 I am to have a horse. Was there ever such a little girl 

with a real racehorse ? I shall create a sensation 

What colours shall my jockey have ? Grey and lilac ? 
No, green with a delicate shade of pink. A horse for me ! 
Dear, but I am happy. What a creature am I ! Why not 
give of my overbrimming cup of life to the poor who have 
nothing ? Mamma allows me money, they snail have half 
of itj 

1 have been arranging my room again; it looks prettier 
without the table in the midale. I put a number of trifles 
about — an inkstand, a pen, two old long forgotten candle- 
sticks. 

^"Society is my breath of life ; it calls, it beckons to me, I 
would like to run to it. But I am not old enough to go out 
yet But I burn with impatience to see the world, not in 
order to get married, but I wish mamma and my aunt would 

fet out of their lazy ways. I don't mean the world of Nice, 
ut of Petersburg, London, or Paris ; there I could breathe 
freely, for the restraints of society come easy to me.j 

D 



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16 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Paul has no taste as yet, he knows nothing of the beauty 
of women. I have heard him say, " Do you call those scare- 
crows beautiful?" I must try and form his taste and 
manners. I have no influence over him yet, but I hope with 
time. ... At present, almost imperceptibly, I impart to 
him my way of seeing things along with notions of the 
strictest morality under a frivolous appearance; it pleases, 
and that's good. If he marries he must love his wife, and his 
wife only. In fact, heaven consenting, I hope to give him 
right views. 

Tuesday, July 29th. — Here we are off to Vienna. We 
were very gay at starting on the whole. As usual, I was the 
life of the party. 

After Milan the country is delightful ; so green and flat 
that your gaze seems to stretch into space with no fear of 
mountains rising up like walls to shut out the view. 

At the Austrian frontier, while I was hastily dressing, the 
door was opened and the doctor sprinkled us with a powder 
as a safeguard from the illness I dare not mention.* I went 
to sleep again till eleven o'clock. I did not dare open my 
eyes. What verdure, what trees, what clean-looking houses, 
what charming German women, how well the fields are 
cultivated ! It s charming, delicious, magnificent ! I am not 
indifferent to the beauties of nature, as they assert ; on the 
contrary. It is true I don't admire arid rocks, grey olive 
trees, a dead landscape. But I delight in mountains covered 
with trees, in plains cultivated to the utmost or covered 
with a carpet ot velvet and diversified by labourers, by peasant 
women, by hamlets. 

Indeea, I never tire of looking out of window and admir- 
ing the scenery. One goes so last by the express. It all 
flies past, and is so beautiful. I admire this kind of scene 
with all my heart. At eight o'clock I sat down, for I was 
tired. At one of the stations some little German girls 
were calling out : " Friseh Wasser ! FriseJt, Wasser ! " l)ina 
has a headache. 

By the way, I frequently try to know what it is that I 
have always facing me, yet always hidden, in a word, the truth. 
Whatever I think, whatever I feel, is outside myself after all. 
Well, I don't know, it seems to me there's nothing. As for 
example, when I see the duke I don't know whether I hate or 
adore him. I want to re-enter my soul and can't. When I 
want to solve a difficult problem I "begin to reflect till I fancy 

•Cholera. 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 17 

I have it, but just when I want to gather up my ideas it 
all disappears, and my thought flies so far that I am 
surprised and can make nothing of it All that I say does 
not touch my inner self ; I have none. I only live externally. 
To come or go, to have or not to have, is all the same to 
me ; my pains and pleasures and sufferings don't exist. 

Only to picture my mother or H fills my heart with 

love; as regards the latter, not cjuite, however, it seems so 
incredible to me that I only think of him in the clouds; 
I can't understand. 

There are people who say that a husband and wife can 
have separate pastimes and love each other very much. 

Its an untruth, they can't ; for when a young man and 
maid are in love with each other, can they think of others ? 
They love, and find sufficient enjoyment in being together. 

A single look, a single thought, bestowed on another 
woman, prove that one no longer loves the woman one loved. 
For I ask again, if you are really in love with one woman 
can you think of loving any other ? Of course not. Well 
then, what's the use of jealousy and reproaches ? One cries 
a little and must take comfort, as one does in the case of 
death, by remembering that there's no help for it. While 
the heart is full of one woman there's no room for another ; 
but no sooner does it begin to grow empty than another 
one enters bodily the moment she has touched it with 
her little finger. 

(Written on tlte margin in March, 1875.) 
There's a good deal of truth in my reasoning at that 
time, but one can see that I was but a child. That word 
" love " so constantly used ! . . . . Poor me ! There are 
mistakes in French; it would all have to be corrected. I 
think I write better now, but not yet as I would like to. 

Into what, hands will my Journal fall ? So far it can only 
possess an interest for me and my family. I should like to 
become some one whose Journal could not fail to interest 
everybody. But to begin with, I write for myself, for will it 
not be a tine thing to pass all one's life in review ? . . . . 

Friday, August 29th. — This morning I went to the fruit 
market with the Princess. She bargained, I paid what 
they asked. I only go once in a way; and to think of 
bargaining I . . . . I gave a few sous to the children. Dear 
me, what a pleasure! They looked upon me as a kind of 
v 2 



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18 MARIE BASIIKFHTSEFF. 

Providence: I don't bargain and give sous. One of the 
women said, "How charming you are!" Oh, if Heaven 
would look kindly upon me ! 

I went back to the house ; they looked at and envied me. 
I have begun arranging my hours of study. I shall have 
done to-morrow ! I must study nine hours a day. God 
grant me energy and courage to apply myself ; I have both, 
Dut would like still more. 

September 2nd. — The drawing-master has come. I gave 
him a list so that he may send me the teachers of the 
college. At last I shall set to work. Owing to Mile. Colignon 
and our journey I have wasted four months ; it's appalling. 
Binsa applied to the Censor, who asks a day. Seeing the list 
I had made out he asked : " How old is the young lady who 
wishes to study all that and has drawn up this programme ? " 
That stupid Binsa said : " She is fifteen." But I gave him 
such a scolding. I am in a towering rage. Why say I am 
fifteen years old ? its a lie ! As an excuse for it he asserts 
that I am twenty to judge by my reasoning powers, and that 
he thought he was doing right by adding two years to my 
age, etc. etc. To-day at dinner I insisted on the man going 
to the Censor and telling him my real age. / insisted 
upon it. 

Friday, September 19th. — I remain in good spirits under 
all circumstances ; we must not be saddened by regrets. 
Life is so short, one must laugh as much as possible. Tears 
come of themselves, we must try and av9id them. There 
are sorrows it is impossible to escape — death and separation ; 
and even the latter is sweet as long as there's hope ; but to 
spoil life with petty annoyances, fie! I lay no stress on 
trifles, as I hate the little daily troubles ; I pass them by 
with a laugh. 



Saturday, December 20th. — Scalkiopoff has come, and 
remarked in the course of conversation that men were 
degenerate monkeys. He is a little man with ideas like 
uncle Nicholas. Then you don't believe in God, I asked ? 
To which he replied, "I can only believe in what I under- 
stand." 

Oh, the horrid creature ! All boys as soon as moustaches 
begin to grow think after that fashion. They are young green- 
horns who fancy women can't reason and understand. They 
consider they are dolls who talk without knowing what 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 19 

they say. They listen to theui with an air of pro- 
tection. ... I told him all that, with the exception of 
calling him a horrid creature ; and as he has no doubt 
been reading some book, which he quotes and didn't under- 
stand, he wishes to prove that God couldn't create l>ecause 
frozen plants and fossils have been found at the Poles. 

I have nothing to say against it ; but was not the earth 
convulsed by various cataclysms before the creation of 
man ? We cannot accept the statement literally that God 
has created the world in six days. The elements were in 
course of formation during centuries and centuries and 
centuries ! But God exists. Can one deny Him on seeing 
the sky, the trees, and men themselves? Is it not as if 
there were a guiding hand to punish and reward, the hand 
of God? . . . 

Monday, October 13th. — I was looking for my lesson when 
little Helder, my English governess, said to me : " Do you 

know that the Duke is going to marry the Duchess M ? " 

I held*the book closer to my face, for I^felt as hot as tire. 
A sharp knife seemed thrust through in y heart. I began to 
tremble so much that I could hardly hold the book. 1 was 
afraid of fainting, but the book saved me. I pretended 
to look for the exact place for several minutes in order to 
get calm. I repeated my lesson in a voice that shook with 
my uneven breathing. I plucked up all my courage in my 
effort at self-control, as I used to ao when taking a header 
from the bathing bridge. I wrote to dictation to avoid 
speaking. 

Witn infinite delight I went to the piano and tried to 
play ; my tingers were stiff and cold. The Princess came to 
ask me to teach her croquet. " With pleasure," I answered, 
cheerfully, but my voice kept shaking. The carriage has 
come. I make haste to dress. My gown is green, my nair is 
golden, and with my pink-and-white complexion I am as pretty 

as an angel or a woman. We drive out. G 's nouse 

stands open ; there are masons at work, and, it seems, de- 
corators or architects. She has gone. . . . Whither ? I sup- 
pose to Russia to make her fortune. All the time I am think- 
ing — "He is getting married! Is it possible?" I am un- 
happy ! Not unhappy as I used to be formerly about a wall- 
paper, or a piece of nirniture ; but really unhappy ! 

I don't Know how to tell the Princess that he is going to 
be married (for they will know it one day), and it will be better 
for me to tell them. I'll choose a moment when she is sitting 



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20 MARIE BASHKIJITSEFR 

on a sofa and the light is behind me, so that one can't see my 
face. " Do you know the lastpiece of news, Princess ? " (We 

were speaking Russian.) "The Duke of H is going to 

be married." I had got it out at last. I didn't blush, I was 
quite calm ; but how shall I describe what I felt ! ! ! 

Since the wretched moment when that busybody told 
me the dreadful news I am out of breath, as if I had 
been running for an hour, and my heart aches and beats 
violently. 

I have been playing the piano furiously, but in the 
midst of it my lingers relaxed, and I leant back in the chair. 
I begin again — the same story — and for at least five minutes 
I begin and have to leave on again. There's a lump in uiv 
throat which stops my breath. Ten times at least I rush 
from the piano to the balcony. Heavens, what a frame of 
mind! . . . 

We go out for a walk, but Nice is Nice no longer, nor G 

either ! The sight of her villa no longer affected me. It's all 
part of the Duke, and on that account my heart aches at 
the sight of those two empty houses. . . . He was the sole 
attraction of Nice, and I now hate, and can hardly endure it. 
I am bored ! Oh ! I am bored ! 

Moil time rcveus« 

Ne songe qu'a lui; 
Je snis malheureuse, 

L'espoir a fui. 

God, deliver me from misery ' O God, forgive me 
my sins, and do not punish me ! It is all over ! . . . I grow 
purple in the face when I think that it is all over ! . . . all, 
all over ! . . . 

1 am. happy to-day, I am delighted to think that it's not 
true after all, as no one has repeated the horrid news, and I 
prefer ignorance to the miserable truth. 

Friday, October ]7th. — I was playing the piano when the 
newspapers were brought in ; I take up Ualigmtw is Messenger \ 
and the first words I see speak of the marriage of the Duke 

I did not drop the paper ; it remained, on the contrary, 
glued to my hanas. I nad not strength enough to remain 
standing. I sat down and read the crushing words at least ten 
times in order to make sure I was not dreaming. Oh, divine 
mercy, what have I read ! What have I read ! I could not 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 21 

write in the evening ; I went down on my knees and wept. 
Mamma came in, and to prevent her seeing me in this state I 
made a pretence of going to see if tea was ready. And I had 
to take a Latin lesson ! Oh, torture ! I can't do anything ; I 
can't remain quiet No words exist to express what I feel ; 
but jealousy possesses, enrages, kills me ; it makes me* quite 
mad ! .... If at least I could show my feelings, but I must 
hide them and appear calm, which makes me all the more 
miserable! .... When champagne is uncorked it sparkles 
and then settles down, but if one only half draws the cork 
it goes on effervescing ! . . . . No, this is not a true simile, 
for I suffer and am crushed. 

I shall forget in time, no doubt ! ... To say that my 
grief will be eternal would be ridiculous — nothing is eternal ! 
But the fact is that at present I can think of nothing else. 
This match has been brought about by the intrigues of his 
mother. [(1880) All this to-do about a man whom I had 
seen about a dozen times in the street, w/iom I didn't know, 
and who was unconscious of my existence ! ] Oh, I hate 
him ! I won't and I will see him in her company ! They 
are in Baden-Baden — Baden-Baden that I was so fond of. 
Those walks where I used to see him, those kiosks, those 
shops ! . . [In reading this over in 1880 / fed quite 
indifferent] 

I have changed everything in my prayers to-day that re- 
fers to him.. I shall no longer pray God to make me his 
wife. . . . 

To give up this prayer seems to me impossible, killing ! I 
cry like a fool ! Come, come, my chila, let us be reason- 
able! 

It is all over ; yes, it is all over ! Ah, I see now that one 
cannot do as one likes ! 

I must prepare myself for the misery of changing my 
prayer. It is the worst sensation in the world — the end of all ! 
Ainenj 

Saturday, October 18th. — I have said my prayers, and have 
omitted praying for him ; for all, in fact. I lelt as if my heart 
were being torn out ; as if I saw the coffin of a beloved one 
carried away. As long a^,the coffin is still there, one is un- 
happy, but not so much so as when one feels mere emptiness 
everywhere. 

I perceive now that he was the soul of my prayers, which 
have become calm, cold, and reasonable, whereas formerly 
they flowed with life and passion S ! He is dead for me, and 



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22 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

the coffin has been taken hence ! My grief was tearful, and is 
now dry ; may His will be done ! I used to send signs of the 
cross to him in all directions, not knowing where he was ; I 
have not done so to-day, and yet my heart beats. 

I am a strange creature, nobody suffers as I do, and yet I 
live, } sing, I write. How I have changed since the 13th 
October, that fatal day ! There is a look of suffering in my 
faca His name no longer produces a grateful warmth ; it is 
a tire, a regret, a sting of jealousy, a feeling of sadness. It is 
the greatest misfortune that can befall a woman. I know 
what it is ! . . . sad mockery ! 

I begin to think seriously of my voice ; I should so like to 
sing well ! What's the use now ? 

He was like a lamp in my soul, and this lamp has gone 
out. It is dark, gloomy, sad ; I don't know which way to turn. 
Formerly in my little troubles I always found a support, a 
light to guide me and give me strength ; but now, however 
much I grope about and try to find a way there's nothing but 
emptiness and darkness. It's horrible, horrible when there's 
nothing in one's soul 

I Tuesday, October 2lst. — We come in ; they are already at 
dinner, ana we get a little lecture from mamma for having 
eaten before dinner. Our charming family group is ruffled. 
Paul gets a scolding from mamma ; granapapa interferes 
where he has no business to, and by domg so injures Paul's 
respect for her. Paul goes away, muttering like a servant. 
I go into the passage to beg grandpapa not to interfere with 
mamma's authority, and to let her do as she thinks best. For 
it is a crime, if, from want of tact, anyone incites children against 
their parents. Grandpapa began to shout, and that maae me 
laugh ; his rages always make me laugh, and thus fill me 
with pity for those unhappy ones who nave no misfortunes, 
and make martyrs of themselves for sheer want of something 
to do. Heavens, if I were only ten years older ! If I were 
free above all ! But what can one do if one's hands and 
feet are tied bv one's aunts and grandfather, by lessons and 
governesses, anil the whole family ? The whole mob of them, 
igreat heavens ! 

My grief is no longer acute, violent, and unexpected, but 
has grown dull, calm, and reasonable ; but it has not grown 

less on that account. No, no! The remembrance is all 

that is left, and when I lose that I shall be most miserabla 

I write such fine phrases that I grow stupid ; and to think 
that I've never so much as spoken to him, that I've seen him 



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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 23 

close at hand about ten or fifteen times, and sometimes 
at a distance, or in his carriage ; but I have heard his voice 
and shall never forget it ! The more I say, the more I would 
like to say. Yet I can't write what I feel. I am like those 
unfortunate painters who invent a picture beyond their power 
of execution. 

I love and have lost him, that is all I can say, and it 
expresses more than all ! 

After dinner, I sang and delighted the whole excitable 
family. 

Saturday, October 25th. — Yesterday evening I was called, 
and told that mamma was very ill ; I went down to the 
dining-room in a very drowsy state, and found mamma in a 
dreaoful condition : everybody was standing round with 
troubled looks. I saw that she felt very ill. She says she 
wishes to see me before dying. I am quite horrified, but do 
not let it be seen. It is a very bad lit of hysteria, worse than 
any she has had. The whole family is in despair. The two 
doctors, Reberg and Macari, are sent for. The servants have 
been despatched in all directions for remedies. It is im- 
possible to describe the horror of that night. I remained 
all the time in an arm-chair near the window ; there were 
plenty of people to do what was required, and in fact I am 
not good at nursing. I have never suffered so much. Yes ; 
I suffered as much on the 13th October, but in another 
way. 

At one time mamma was very bad. I could not contain 
my feelings, and my first impulse was to pray. The doctors 
came and went continually. At last tney succeeded in 
putting mamma to bed in her room, and we all gathered 
round the bedside. But she is no better The recollec- 
tion of that night makes me shudder. The doctors say these 
attacks are dangerous, but, thank God, the danger is over for 
the present. We are all much quieter, and remain in her 
room. As the sea grows calm after a great storm and 
appears almost frozen, we were all sitting there so calmly 
after such violent agitations that I hardly understood what 
had happened. 

Tuesday, October 28tk. — Poor mamma is no better ; those 
brutes of doctors have applied a blister which has made her 
suffer horribly. The best remedy is cold water or tea ; that's 
simple and natural. 

A person destined to die, dies in spite of all the doctors 



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24 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

if, on the contrary, it is not his fate, he won't die even if he is 
alone and without any assistance. 

It seems to me, in that case, much better to do without 
all those medical horrors. 

Oh ! how I wish I were twenty ; I am only a dreamer 
without a future and full of ambition ; how like my sorrows ; 
how like my life ! I had fashioned it in my imagination, and 
it has tumbled to pieces. 

Although the duke is dead to me, I think of him still. 
I feel quite lost; everything has become uncertain; I have 
nothing to pray for. 

Paul won't do anvthing ; he doesn't study, he isn't 
sufficiently serious, he doesn't realise that he ought to study ; 
it vexes me. O God, give him understanding ; let him see 
that he ought to study ; inspire him with sufficient ambition 
to enable him to become somebody. O God, grant my 
prayer, guide him, protect him from all those miscreants who 
mislead him. 

I shall never care for a man who is in an inferior social 
position to my own ; common people irritate and disgust me. 
A poor man is shorn of half his individuality ; he appears 
insignificant, wretched, and looks like an usher; whereas 
a rich and independent man carries himself jyrvudly, and 
has an indefinable air of comfort, an assurance of triumph. 

I like H because he looks so self-complacent, capricious, 

foppish, and cruel There's something of Nero in him. 

P Saturday, November 8th. — Never let people see too much 
of you, even those who love you. Go away when intercourse^ 
is at its best, so as to be regretted and leave illusions behind. 
You will appear more interesting, more beautiful. One always 
regrets what's past, and they will be eager to see you again ; 
but do not satisfy that wish immediately ; make people suffer, 
but not too much. Things that are too difficult lose in value. 
One's expectations are disappointed. Or again, make people 
suffer greatly, even too much .... then you will be queen^J 
I think I must have a fever, I am too talkative, especially 
when I am weeping inwardly. Nobody would guess it. I 
sing, and laugh, and make jokes, and tne more miserable I 
am the livelier seem my spirits. To-day I am incapable of 
opening my mouth ; I have hardly eaten anything. 

However much I may write, it will never express what I feel. 
It seems as if they haa robbed me in taking the duke ; yes, 
really it is as if I had been deprived of my property. What a 
disagreeable frame of mind ! I don't know how to express it, 

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NICE, PARIS, VIENNA, 1873. 25 

everything seems too weak. I use the strongest term for a 
trifle, and when I want to speak seriously I hnd myself run 
dry, as if. . . . Enough ! if I go on drawing conclusions and 
instituting comparisons I shall never end. Thoughts run into 
one another ana get confused at last 

Now that I look at mamma as if she were a stranger, I 
discover that she is fascinating, beautiful as the day, although 
worn by all kinds of worries and ailments. Her voice m 
speaking is soft without being affected, but strong and gentle ; 
her manners are charming, although natural and simple. 

I have never in my fife seen any one who thinks less of 
herself than my mother. She is as natural as nature ; and if 
she would pay a little attention to dress, everybody would 
admire her. It is all very well, but dress does much. 
She attires herself in rubbish and heaven knows what ! 
To-day she has a pretty gown, and upon uiy word she is 
captivating ! 

Saturday, October 29th. — I am never at peace for a minute. 
I should like to hide myself far, far away, where there's no 
one. Perhaps I should find myself again. 

I have gone through jealousy, love, envy, disillusion, 
woimded self-love — everything that's hideous in life. . . . 
Above all, I feel his loss ! I love him ! Why cannot I remove 
all that's in my soul ? But if I don't know what's passing in 
me, I know well that I am dreadfully fretted ; that there's 
something which gnaws at and stifles me ; yet all I say does 
not express the hundredth part of what I feel. 

I've hidden my face in my hand while with the other I 
hold the cloak, which entirely covers me, even to the head, 
so as to be in the dark ana collect my ideas, which are 
scattered in all directions, and leave me quite confused. 
My poor head! 

There is one thing that troubles me ; to think that in a 
few years I shall laugli at it all and have forgotten ! [(1875.) 
It'* two years ago ntnv, and I dont laugh at it, and I have 
not forgotten /] All these sufferings will seem very childish 
to me, and affected. But no, I entreat you don't forget ! 
When you read these lines, look back ; think you are thirteen ; 
that you are in Nice ; that it is just happening ! Think 
what you felt at the time ! . . . You will understand . . « 
You will be happy. 

Sunday, November 30th. — I wish he would get married 
more quickly. I'm always like that ; when there's something 



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26 MARIE BASHKIBTSEFF. 

disagreeable to be gone through, instead of wishing to put it 
off', I should like to bring it nearer. When we were leaving 
Paris, I hurried the time of departure, because I knew this 
pill had to be swallowed. In the same way I eagerly awaited 
our arrival at Nice, so as not to have to wait For the antici- 
pation is even worse than the event itself. 



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27 



CHAPTER II. 

RUSSIA— PARIS, MARSEILLES, NICE, FLORENCE, 1874. 

Sunday, January 4th. — How sweet it is to wake up 
naturally! I opened my eyes of my own accord without being 
called ; it's like being on board steamer when on waking you 
find you have reached your destination. 

Friday, January $th. — Coming in from my walk, I 
thought to myself, You'll never be staid and proper like 
other young ladies. I never could understand how this 
seriousness comes about How one suddenly passes from 
childhood to maidenhood. I asked myself: How does it 
happen? Little by little, or in a single day? The causes 
which develop, ripen, or change you must either be brought 
about by some misfortune or by love. If I were a wit I 
should say the two things are synonymous; but I don't 
say it, because I think love is the most beautiful thing in 
the world. I may compare myself to a sheet of water 
which is frozen below ana only agitated on the surface, for 
nothing interests or amuses me at bottom.^ 

January Wth. — I am all impatience till to-morrow 
evening, the 12th January, which is our Russian New Year's 
Eve, in order to test my fortune in a looking-glass. 

Aunt Marie has been telling us the most impressive things : 
she herself tried her luck before the looking-glass; she saw 
her husband and many things which have not yet come 
to pass. She also tells us that one sees the most horrible and 
terrifying things. I was so animated and excited that 
I could eat nothing. I made up my mind to try my luck. 

At half-past eleven at night I shut myself in my room ; I 
arrange the mirrors and here I am at last! . . . For a 
long time I saw nothing, then little by little I made out some 
small figures, but not bigger than ten or twelve centimetres. 
I only saw a crowd of heads, with the most whimsical head- 
dresses imaginable ; toques, wigs, huge caps — all upside down ; 
then I noticed a woman who was like me, all in white with 
a kerchief on her head and one elbow on the table, her chin 
lightly resting on her hand, her eyes looking up — she slowly 
faaed away. I saw the white and black marble floor of a 



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28 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

church, and in the middle, standing or sitting, a group of 
people in fancy dresses ; I couldn't exactly make it out. To 
my left I seemed to see several men as if in a mist; 
a man in a dress-coat, and a bride ; but their faces were 
invisible. 

There was another man in the centre whose face I couldn't 
see ; most prominent were the heads with the queer headgear 
and I myself, I suppose, and all kinds of costumes changing 
with every minute. The scenes were most brilliant. Just at 
the beginning the decoration of the mirror endlessly reflected 
seemed to me for a minute like a coffin ; but I saw my mis- 
take. I own I was a little excited. I thought every minute 
that I should see something horrible. To-morrow I shall tell 
them all about it, for it's strange ; I dare say I should have 
seen better had I not moved the mirror and my eyes. I 
began the New Year by meeting those indescribably strange 
ana fantastic costumes and head-dresses. 

Long live the year 1874 in Russia, and farewell to 1873 ! 

Thursday, June 2nd. — During the whole of this winter 1 
couldn't utter a sound ; I was in despair ; I thought I had 
lost my voice, and I held my tongue and blushed when any 
one spoke to me about it ; now it has come back, ray voice, 
my treasure, my fortune ! I welcome it with tears and go down 

on mv knees I said nothing, but I suffered cruelly, and 

darea not speak of it, but I prayed to God and he has heard me. 
. . . What happiness, what delight to sing well ! One fancies 
oneself all powerful, one imagines oneself a queen ! One rejoices 
at one's gift. It isn't the pride of gold or of a title. One is 
more than a woman, one feels immortal. One is freed from 
earth and soars to heaven ! And then all those people who 
hang on your lips, who listen to your song as if it were divine, 
who are electrified and enchanted. . . . You sway them all. 
.... Next to actual royalty this is the best thing to strive 
after. The sovereignty of beauty comes after, for it is not all- 
powerful with every one ; but song carries man above the earth, 
ne floats in a cloud like that in which Venus appeared to 
iEneas ! 

Nice, July Uh. — We go to the church of St. Peter's ; the 
young ladies alone. I prayed fervently on my knees with my 
chin resting on my hand, which is very white and delicate ; 
but remembering where I was, I hid my hands and arranged 
my things in as unbecoming a way as possible by way of 
penitence. I am in the same mood as yesterday, and put on 



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RUSSIA, FRANCE, ITALY, 1874. 29 

the dress and bonnet of my aunt In leaving church we see 

A drive past, bowing, in his wretched Nice hat. 

r In my present frame of mind I can't go home, and I 
take my companions to the convent opposite the church, 
and which leads by a back door to the Sapogenikoffs' house. 
We enter the convent, bringing with us so much gjaiety 
and nonsense that the holy atmosphere of the place is stirrea, 
and the white and peaceful sisters look amused as they peep 
curiously behind the doors. We see the Abbess behind her 
double grating. She has been in the convent for forty years .... 
Oh, misery ! We go next to the parlour of the boarders, and 
I set Sister Th^rese dancing. She wants to convert me, and 
praises the convent ; I also want to convert her, and praise 
the world. 

We are up to the ears in the Catholic religion. Well 
I quite understand the passion one may have for churches 
and convent^j 

*" Tuesday, July 6th. — Nothing is lost in this world. If we 
leave off loving one person, we immediately transfer our 
affections to somebody else, even without knowing it, and 
if we fancy we care for nobody we are mistaken. If it isn't 
a man then it's a dog or a piece of furniture, and we love 
it with the same passion, only in another way. If I loved 
I should like my love to be returned with equal strength ; 
I should not even tolerate a word from any one else; but 
such love is not to be found. Therefore I shall never love 
any one, for no one will ever love me as I could lovej 

July 14th. — We have been speaking of Latin, of public 
schools and of examinations; this has inspired me with a 
burning desire to study, and when Brunet came I did not 
keep him waiting, but asked him for an account of the 
examinations. His account is such that I felt I should be 
able to present myself, after a year of study, for a scholar- 
ship. We will speak of it further. 

I have been studying Latin since last February, and 
we are now in July. According to Brunet, I have accom- 
plished in five months what they do at the college in three 
years. It's tremendous! I shall never forgive myself for 
having lost this year. It will grieve me dreadfully ; I shall 
never forget it ! . . . . 

July 15th. — Last evening I said to the moon after leaving 
the Sapogenikoffs : " O moon, beautiful moon, show me the 
mail I shall marry ! " 



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30 MARIE BASHKJRTSEFF. 

After that you must not utter another word, and they 
say that you see the man whom you are to marry in your 
dreamsj 

What nonsense ! I have seen S and A ; both out of 

the question ! 

I am in a bad temper, everything's wanting, nothing 
turns out right. I shall be punished for my pride and 
stupid arrogance. Read this and learn, good folk! This 
Journal is the most useful and instructive. of all books that 
have been, are, or ever will be written. "It's a woman with 
all her thoughts, her illusions, hopes, weaknesses, her charms, 
sorrows, and delights. I am not yet a complete woman, but I 
shall be on§j You will be able to trace rav life from the cradle 
to the grave. For a person's life, her whole life, without any 
concealment or untruth, must always prove a great and 
interesting thing. 

Friday, July 16/ h. — Owing to the transmigration of love, 
all that I possess at present is centred on V ictor, one of 
my dogs. He sits opposite to me at breakfast with his big 
dear head facing me! Let us love dogs, let us only love 
dogs ! Men and cats are contemptible creatures. And yet 
dogs are nasty things ; they watch you greedily while you 
are eating ; they like you for food's sake ; true, I never feed 
my dogs and tney love me nevertheless. And Prater has 
left me on Victor's account # and taken to mamma. And 
look at men ! don't they want to be fed, are they not greedy 
and mercenary ? 

I shall avoid my destiny, I shall not go to Russia, for 
I wouldn't miss Michael Angelo's centenary for the world. 
Russia will keep till next year, but to see another centenary 
I should have to live another hundred years, which can't 
be expected. . . . And then, if I don't go to Russia it is 
God's will. All that happens, happens for the best, says a 
Russian proverb ; no one escapes his fate, says another one. 

I have again addressed tne moon: "O moon, beautiful 
moon, show me in my sleep the man I shall marry ! " 

Saturday, July VJth. — They say that there are a great 
many rogues in Russia who want a Commune^ how 
horrible! To divide everything and share it in common. 
And their detestable sect is so numerous that the papers 
appeal to society in their despair. Will the fathers of families 
not put a stop to this infection ? They want to annihilate 
everything ; an end of civilisation, an end of art, so full of 



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RUSSIA, FRANCE, ITALY, 1874. 31 

great and beautiful things. Nothing but the material means 
for existence; universal manual labour; and no one will 
have the right, however great his merit, to rise above his 
neighbours. They wish to abolish the Universities and all 
higher education, and reduce Russia to a caricature of Sparta 
I hope God and the Emperor may confound their schemes. 
I shall pray God to protect the country from those wild 

beasts. D seems struck by all I say, and astonished 

to find such a fever of life in me. We speak of our furniture, 
and he is perfectly thunderstruck at the description of my 
room. " But it's a temple, a tale of the ' Arabian Nights ! ' " 
he exclaims ; " but one must enter it on one's knees ! How 
astonishing, unique, remarkable ! " He tries to decipher my 
character, and asks me if I ever try my fortune in 
daisies. 

" Yes, very often," I replied, " to know if the dinner will 
be good." 

"Is it possible that with such a poetic and fairy-like 
room you should ask a daisy whether the chef has been 
successful with his dinner ? Oh no, I can't believe it ! " He 
is much amused by my assertion that I have two hearts. 
I enjoy his exclamation of surprise at the number of contrasts 
in my nature. I soared Heaven high and then without 
the slightest transition came plump to earth. I posed as 
a person who wishes to live and enjoy herself without a 
notion of love. And lost in astonishment he declared he 
was afraid of me; that it's too strange, supernatural, and 
dreadful 

I prefer solitude when there's no one for whom to 
live. 

My hair, knotted Psyche fashion, is redder than ever. 
With a woollen gown of that special shade of white which 
is so becoming and pretty, with a lace fichu round the throat, 
I have the look of a portrait of the First Empire. To make 
this picture complete, I ought to sit under a tree, book in 
hand. I like solitude before a mirror, so as to admire 
my delicate white hands just touched with pink on the 
paW 

• It's perhaps silly to praise myself so much ; but authors 
always describe their heroine, and I am my own heroine. 
And it would be ridiculous to humble and abase myseli 
owing to a false modesty. We may abase ourselves in 
speaking when we are sure of being lifted up ; but in writing, 
everybody will think I am speaking the truth, and so they 
would thmk me plain and stupid — too absurd. 



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.12 MARIE BASTTKIRTSEFF. 

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I consider myself a treasure 
of whom no one is worthy ; and those who dare aspire to this 
treasure are looked upon by me as hardly worthy of pity. I 
consider myself a divinity, and can't conceive how a man like 

G can dream of pleasing me. I would hardly treat a 

king as my equal, and it is well. For I look down on men 
from such a height that I behave charmingly to them, for it 
would not do to despise those who are so far below me. I 
consider them as a cat might a mousej 

Thursday, July 29th. — We were to have left to-day ; I have 
gone through all the worries attending a removal We get 
out of temper, run, forget, remember, and shout ; I am quite 
unsettled ; and now they talk of remaining all Saturday. 
Uncle fitienne wants to put it off. He has no energy for 
anything. What a character ! He was to have left Russia at 
the beginning of April, and only left it in July. It's very 
trying; we are going to remain. When I show them that I 
am (iisappointea, ana say that I won't go at all, they all give 
way to me, and I go on pouting. 

Monday, August 2nd. — After a day passed in shopping 
and seeing dressmakers, in walking and flirting, I put 
on a dressing-gown and begin reading my good friend 
Plutarch. 

I have a gigantic imagination ; I begin dreaming of the 
love-making of past ages, and, without suspecting it, am the 
most romantic of women — how unwholesome ! 

I can easily forgive myself my infatuation for the duke ; he 
was worthy of me m all respects. 

Tuesday, August Vlth. — I dreamt of the Fronde ; I had 
just entered the service of Marie of Austria ; she distrusted 
me, and I led her in the midst of the people in revolt, crying, 
" Long live the Queen ! " and the people cried after me, " Long 
live the Queen ! " 

Wednesday, August 18th. — We have passed the day ad- 
miring me — mamma admires me ; the Princess G ad- 
mires me ; she is continually saying that I am like mamma, 
or like her daughter, and that's the greatest compliment she 
can pay any one, for people have a better opinion of them- 
selves than of any one else. 

It's true I am pretty. In Venice, in the Ducal palace, 
there is a painting by Paul Veronese on the ceiling of the 



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RUSSIA, FRANCE, ITALY, 1874 33 

State room, where Venice is depicted as a tall, fair, and 
blooming woman. I resemble that painting. My photographs 
can never give an exact idea of my appearance, because tney 
want colour, and because the matchless fairness of my com- 
plexion is my chief beauty. But put me out of temper, 
fatigue or annoy me by anything, then farewell to beauty ! 
For you'll find nothing more fragile than me. I am only 
adorable when I am happy and serene. When I am tired 
or vexed, I am no longer beautiful — on the contrary, I am 
rather plain. I expand with happiness as a flower in the sun. 
People will see me; there's plenty of time, thank God! I 
am only beginning to grow what I shall be like at twenty. 

I am like Hagar in the wilderness, I wait and long for a 
living spiritj 

Paris, Tuesday, August 24th. — I hope to be introduced into 
society, that society for which I call loudly and on both knees 
— for it's life, it's happiness. I begin to live and to try and realise 
my dreams of being celebrated. I am already known to many 
people. I look at myself in the glass and think myself pretty. 
What do I want more ? God, in giving me a little beauty 
(I say little from modesty), it is still more than I deserve, 
coming from Thee. I feel I am beautiful, and I fancy I shall 
succeed in everything. The world is full of smiles for me, and 
I am happy, happy, happy! 

The noise of Paris, this hotel as big as a town, with people 
always walking, talking, reading, smoking, staring, makes me 
awfully giddy. I love Paris and my heart beats. I want to live 

faster ; yes, faster, faster "1 never saw such a fever of 

life," D said, looking at me. Yes, I fear this desire to 

live by steam may be the forerunner of a short life. W T ho 
knows ? Come now, I am growing melancholy. No, I don't 
want melancholy ^ 

Sunday, September 6th. — In the Bois there are so many 
people from Nice that it seemed for a moment like being 
there. I remember my last year's morning walks with my 
dogs — that clear blue sky, tnat silvery seaw Here, there's 
neither morning nor evening. In the morning they sweep 
the streets ; in the evening I am irritated by those innum- 
erable lamps. I am quite lost here, I can't distinguish 
between east and west. But yonder, in the south, how 
pleasant it is. It is like being in a nest, with those en- 
circling mountains neither too high nor too bare. On three 
E 2 



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34 MARIE BASHKIRT8EFF. 

sides they protect us like a fine and comfortable cloak, and 
in front, like an immense window, is the infinite horizon, 
always the same yet always new. I love Nice; Nice is my 
country ; Nice made me grow ; Nice gave me health and a 
brilliant complexion. It is so beautiful You rise with the 
day and see the sun appearing over yonder, to the left 
behind the mountains which are strongly outlined against a 
sky of silvery blue and so soft and vaporous that it chokes 
one with delight. At noon the sun snines in front of me, 
it is hot, but the air is not hot for there's that incompar- 
able breeze always so refreshing. Everything seems asleep. 
There's not a soul on the promenade, except two or three 
Nicjois nodding on the seats. Then I begin to breathe, to 
admire. And then again the sky, the sun, and the mountains, 
in the evening. But in the evening it's quite black, or a sombre 
blue. And when the moon is shining on that interminable 
road on the sea, which looks like a fish with diamond scales, 
and I am at my window, quiet and alone, with a looking-glass 
before me and two candles, I ask for nothing more, and go 
down on my knees. Oh no, they will not understand my 
meaning. They will not understand because they have not 
experienced it. No, it is not that; I am utterly at a loss 
whenever I try to make others realise what I feel ... It is 
like a nightmare when one is powerless to cry. 

For that matter no writing whatever will ever give the least 
idea of real life. How describe that freshness, that aroma of 
memory ? One may invent, create, but it's impossible to 
copy. However much you may feel in writing, you only 
produce common words — wood, mountain, sky, moon ; every- 
body says the same thing. And, after all, why trouble about 
it, what does it matter to other people ? They can never 
understand it because it's not they but I, I only, who can 
understand and remember. Then, again, men are not worth 
the trouble it would take to make them understand it all 
Every one feels for himself, as I do. I would like to be able 
to make others feel as I do about me ; but it's impossible, 
they would have to be I. 

My child, my child, leave it alone ; you are getting lost 
in these subtleties. You will go mad if you persist in 
puzzling over this as you did once over your inner self. . . . 
There are so many clever people ! Well, no ; I mean 
to say let them disentangle it ... . Well, no, they can 
invent, but not disentangle ; no, a hundred thousand times, 
no! In all this one thing is clear — that I am home-sick 
for Nice. 



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RUSSIA, FRANOE, ITALY, 1874. 35 

V Monday, September 6th. — In this depression, in this 
dreadful and continuous suffering, I don't curse life ; on the 
contrary, I love it, and find it good. Would you believe it, I 
find it all good and pleasant, even my tears and suffering. 
I like to cry, I like to be in despair, I like to be sad 
and miserable. I look upon it all as a pastime, and I love 
life in spite of it I want to live. It would be cruel to 
make me die when I am so accommodating. I weep, I 
complain, and it pleases me at the same time; no, not 
exactly, but I don't know how to express it. In fact, every- 
thing in life pleases me, I find it all agreeable ; and while I am 
asking for happiness, I find myself happy in being miserable. 
It is not / who find it so; my body weeps and sighs, but a 
something in me, which is allove me, rejoices at everything. 
It isn't because I prefer tears to joy, but so far from cursing 
life in my moments of despair, 1 bless it and say — "I am 
unhappy ; I complain of life ; but I find it so beautiful that 
all appears fair and happy to me, and I wish to live." 
This somebody, who is above me, and who enjoys weep- 
ing, has, apparently gone out this evening for 1 feel very 
(unhappy. 

I have done no harm to any one as yet, but I have already 
been calumniated, offended, humiliated. > How can I love 
men ? I hate them ; but God does not suffer hatred. Ah ! 
God forsakes me, God tries me. He sees how I take things ; 
He sees that I do not hide pain under a cowardly hypocrisy, 
like that rogue of a Job, who, while whining before our Lora, 
made Him his dupe. 

One thing vexes me above all — not so much the collapse 
of all my plans, as the regret caused by such a series of mis- 
adventures. Not on my own account — I don't know whether 
I shall be understood — as because it pains me to see blots 
accumulating on a white gown which we wished to keep 
clean. 

My heart contracts at every little annoyance, not for my 
own sake, but from pity ; because every annoyance is like a 
drop of ink falling into a glass of water ; it is never obliterated, 
but, added to its predecessors, turns the glass of water grey, 
black, and dirty. You may add as much water as you like 
afterwards, it will always remain radically unclean. My heart 
contracts — with every recurrence a fresh blot is left upon my 
life, upon my soul. Isn't it so ? We feel a profound sadness 
about the irreparable, even in trifling things. 



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36 MARIE BA8HK1RTSEFF. 

Thursday, September 9th. — We are at Marseilles; no 
money has arrived My aunt, in order not to keep me 
waiting, has gone out to pawn her diamonds. I feel nearer to 
Nice, my own town, for, whatever I may say, it is my town. 
I shall only feel easy at Florence with all my own things. I 
have had my dress and hat brushed, and am waiting for aunt 
to take a turn in the town. 

I bought a novel at one of the stations, but found it so 
badly written that I threw it out of window, for fear of 
spoiling my style, which is already bad enough, and have 
now come back to Herodotus, which I am going to read at 
once. 

Ah, what a delightful result! Poor aunt! I prostrate 
myself before her. In what places has she been! What 
people has she seen ! And all for my sake ! As she was 
ashamed to ask the driver to take her to the pawn- 
broker's, she inquired for a place where one could deposit 
diamonds. How we laughed about this place where 
diamonds are deposited! At one o'clock we leave this ill- 
odoured town. 

Since Antibes I do nothing but sing Nicois songs, to the 
great amazement of the railway officials. The nearer we get 
the greater grows my impatience. 

Here's the Mediterranean, for which I have been sighing ! 
Those black trees, and the full moon lighting up that road 
across the sea I 

A perfect calm; no rolling of carriages nor perpetual 
movement of people, looking such funny little men from my 
window in the wand HoteL Rest, silence, a darkness par- 
tially lit by the moon, who is hiding herself; only a few 
lamps, which seem running after one another. 

I go into my room, and then into my dressing-room. I 
open my window to look at the chdteau, which is just the 
same, and a clock strikes, I do not know what hour, but it 
gives me a pang ! 

Ah ! well may I call this year the year of sighs ! I am 
a little tired, but I love Nice ! I love Nice ! 

Friday, September 10th (Journey to Florence). — The 
mosquitoes woke me up a dozen times during the night ! I 
wake up a little pale, but comfortable. An, the English 
know well what they mean by Home. Let the house be 
what it likes, it is the pleasantest in the world ; this depends 
neither on its comfort or wealth; for look at our house — 



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RUSSIA, FRANCE, ITALY, 1874. 37 

everything in it is upside down, hardly any furniture there 
— disorder, neglect, visible everywhere, yet I feel content, 
because I am at home, by myself, by myself ! . . . . 

I don't think of my gowns, because I am so satisfied. 
O Nice, 1 never thought to see thee again with such rapture ! 
If any one had heard me swear and curse it from the time of 
our leaving Marseilles, they would think I hated Nice. 

It is my way to speak ill of people and things I love. 

I walk about silently, and pale as a ghost, collecting 
all my memories scattered about the Promenade. Nice, for 
me, consists in the Promenade des Anglais. Every house, 
every tree, every telegraph-pole, has a pleasant or disagree- 
able, a tender or commonplace memory. I feel as if I had 
returned from Spa, Ostend, or London. Everything's just 
the same. There's even that smell of wood peculiar to new 
furniture. 

I go into my room, and do up my hair exquisitely, in the 
style of the Empire, and don my white gown — the one of the 
portrait. It is a flowing gown, such as statues have, with 
sleeves which I turn up above the elbow, cut somewhat high 
in the back and lower in the neck, so as to show a little of the 
bust with a broad piece of Valenciennes falling over it. The 
loose folds of the dress are tied at the waist by a ribbon, 
and also tied below the bosom by two ribbons sewn together 
and tied in a simple knot No gloves, no ornaments. I am 
charmed with myself. My white arms beneath the white 
wool, oh, so white ! I am pretty ; I am animated. Am I 
really in Nice ? 

Sunday, September 12th. — This evening in Florence. The 
town appears of moderate dimensions, but is full of life. At 
every corner they sell water-melons in slices. I was much 
tempted by those fresh, ruddy slices of melons. We look 
on the square and the Arno from our window. I ask for a 
programme of the fites — they began to-day. I thought 
my friend Victor Emmanuel would know how to make the 
most of this fine opportunity — the centenary of Michael 
Angelo Buonarotti. In thy reign, knave of a king ! ! ! 
Ana thou dost not invite all the sovereigns, and give such 
festivities as were never seen before ! And thou dost not 
make a tremendous stir ! ! ! O king, thy son, thy grandson, 
and their sons, will reign after thee, and to none will such 
an opportunity be given. O great lump of flesh ! O king 
without ambition, without pride ! 



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38 MARIE BASHK1BTSEFF. 

There are meetings of all kinds — concerts, illuminations, 
a ball at the Casino, the former Borghese palace .... but 
no king ! . . . . Nothing as I would have liked and wished 
it 

Monday, September 13th. — Let me collect my thoughts a 
little. The more I have to tell the less I write. . . . Because 
I grow impatient and nervous when I have much to say. 

We drive through the whole town in a landau and in full 
dress. Oh, how I love those gloomy houses, those porticoes, 
those pillars, the massive and grandiose architecture ! Hide 
your diminished heads you French, Russian, English 
architects — ye plaster palaces of Paris, fall crumbling to 
the earth ; the Louvre alone excepted, it is above criticism — 
but all the rest ! You will never reach the magnificent 
style of the Italians. I opened my eyes wide when I saw 
the great blocks of the Pitti Palace. . . . The town is dirty, 
almost in rags, but what beauties there are! O city of 
Dante, of the Medici, of Savonarola ! how full art thou of 
splendid memories for those who think, who feel, who know ! 
What masterpieces ! What ruins ! O knave of a king ! 
Oh, if I were queen ! . . . 

I adore painting, sculpture, in short art wherever it exists. 
I could spend whole days in these galleries, but my aunt is 
not well, she finds it difficult to accompany me, and I sacrifice 
myself. Besides, life is before me, I shall have time to see 
it again. 

At the Pitti Palace I can find no costume to be copied ; 
but what beauty, what painting ! . . . 

Shall I say it ? No, I dare not . . . People will cry out 
"Shame! Shame!" Come, be brave ! . . . Well then, Raphael's 
Madonna della Seggiola does not please me. The Madonna's 
face is pale, her complexion unnatural, her expression more 
like that of a chambermaid than of the Holy Virgin, the 
Mother of Jesus. . . . Oh, but there's a Maadalen by Titian, 
which has enchanted me. But — there is always a but — her 
wrists are too thick and her hands too fat ; fine hands of a 
woman of fiity. 

There are delicious things by Rubens and Van Dyck. Le 
Mensonge by Salvator Rosa, is very natural, very good. I do not 
speak as a connoisseur; that which is most like Nature 
pleases me best. Is not the aim of painting the imitation 
of Nature ? 

I am very much pleased with the fair, fat face of Paul 



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BUS&IA, FRANCE, ITALY, 1874 39 

Veronese's wife, painted by himself. I like that style of face. I 
adore Titian, Van Dyck, but as to poor Raphael. ... It doesn't 
matter so long as no one sees what I write, they would think 
me stupid. I don't criticise Raphael, for I don't understand 
him. In time, no doubt, I shall understand his qualities. 
However, the portrait of a Pope — I don't quite remember 
which — but I think Leo X., is admirable. I have been 
attracted by a Virgin and Infant Christ, by Murillo — it is 
fresh and natural. 

I found the picture gallery smaller than I thought, to my 
great satisfaction. Those interminable galleries are killing, a 
more terrible labyrinth than that of Crete. 

I passed two hours in the Pitti Palace without sitting 
down for an instant, and I am not tired. . . . Because things 
I love don't tire me. I am of iron as long as there are 
pictures, and, above all, statues, to see. Ah, if I were made to 
walk through the shops of the Louvre or of the Bon March6, 
or even at Worth's, I should begin to cry at the end of three- 
quarters of an hour ! 

No journey has ever given me the satisfaction of this one ; 
at last I find things worthy of being seen. I adore those 
gloomy Strozzi palaces. And I adore these enormous gates, 
these suj>erb courts, these porticoes, and colonnades. It's 
majestic, it's grand, it's beautiful ! . . . Ah, the world is 
growing degenerate; one is tempted to hide oneself in the 
earth on comparing our modern buildings with these gigantic 
stones piled one above the other and towering heavenward. 
You pass under bridges uniting palaces at an enormous 
height . . . 

O my daughter, hold your epithets in check ! what will 
you say to Rome ? 



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40 



CHAPTER III. 

NICE, 1875. 



\ Nice, Thursday, September 30th. — I go down to my 
laboratory, and, to mjMiorror, find all my phials, all my 
balloons, all my salts, all my crystals, all my acids, all my 
tubes, uncorked, and everything thrown pell-mell in the 
greatest confusion in a dirty case. I get into a rage, sit down 
on the floor, and begint by smashing thoroughly what's only 
half-broken. I don't touch what is left uninjured, however, 
for I never forget myself. 

" Ah ! you thought that Marie had gone ; was as good as 
dead! So you break and scatter everything!" I cried, still 
continuing to smash the things. 

My aunt was silent at first, then said : " Is this a young 
lady ? It's a monster ! a horror ! " 

In the midst of my anger I couldn't help smiling, for this 
sort of thing is quite on the surface, it does not reach mv 
inner self, and at this moment I have the happiness to touch 
mv inmost self, therefore I am quite calm, and look upon it 
all as if it concerned somebody else. 

Friday, October 1. — God does not do what I implore Him 
to do. I resign myself (I don't, really, I wait). Oh, how tire- 
some it is to wait, and to do nothing but wait ! This sort of 
thing ruins women ; these contradictions and oppositions of 
their outward circumstances. 

If man* on coming into existence and in his first 
movements experienced no resistance from his environment, 
he would be unable to make any distinction between 
himself and the outside world, he would come to the con- 
clusion that this world is part of himself, of his own body. 
According to the ease with which he reached it, by a gesture 
or a step, he would be persuaded that the whole is only a 
portion, an extension of his personal life ; he would say, boldly, 
" I am the Universe." 

You are quite right in saving that it's too good to be by 

me, and I shall not try to make you think so. A philosopher 

has said it, and I repeat it. Well, yes ; I dreamt of living in 

this fashion, but the world around me has given me the blues, 

* and I am exceedingly annoyed. 



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NICE, 1875. 41 

I have ventured to, compare all the people who have 
pleased me with the duke. It's strange, but on all sorts of 
occasions I see him completely before me, and I thank God 
for it, for he is my light . . . What a difference ! How vividly 
I remember ! My happiness consisted in seeing him ; I re- 
mained on the terrace, sometimes I saw him passing by, and 
went back to the house in ecstasy. I threw myself into 
Colignon's arms ; I hid my face in her bosom ; she did not 
check me, but raised me gently and" made me go to my 
lessons, still quite bewildered and drunk with joy. Oh, 
how well I understand that phrase — drunk with joy; for 
1 experienced it. I did not look upon him as an equal ; I 
never seriously thought of knowing * him. . . . and to see 
him. . . . that was all I asked for. I love him still, and 
shall always love him ! . . . How sweet it is to think of 
him ! . . . . How pure is this memory ! In thinking of him 
I rise above this slough of Nice. I am lifted up ; I love 
him. When I think of this I can't write much ; I think, I 
love, and that's all. 

The state of confusion in the house is a great trouble to 
me; these household affairs, these dismantled rooms, this 
air of desolation and misery, make me sick at heart. O 
God, take pity on me and help me settle it all 1 I am alone. 
As to my aunt, it's all the same to her ; let the house fall in, 
let the garden dry up. ... Not to mention details, as far as 
I am concerned the neglect of these little household mat- 
ters makes me nervous and spoils my temper. I am good, 
amiable, and gay, when my surroundings are tasteful, sump- 
tuous, and comfortable; but when everything is empty and 
desolate, I, too, grow empty and desolate. The swallow builds 
her nest, the lion has his den, how then should man, so 
superior to the beasts, do nothing ? Though I say superior, 
I don't mean to say that I esteem him. No ; I have a pro- 
found contempt for mankind, and that from conviction. I 
expect nothing good from it. It does not possess what I seek 
and hope for — a good and perfect soul. Good people are fools ; 
and the clever ones are eitner cunning or too much taken up 
with their own wit to be good. Moreover, all human beings are 
essentially selfish ; and pray look for goodness in an egotist. 
Self-interest, cunning, intrigues, envy ! ! Happy are the am- 
bitious, that is a noble passion ; we try at times to appear 
good to others from vanity and ambition, and it's better than 
never being so. 

Well, my daughter, have you come to the end of all your 



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42 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

wisdom ? For the present, well, yes. Thus, at least, I shall 
haye fewer illusions. No meanness will annoy, no low action 
surprise me. No doubt the day will come when I shall think 
that I have found a man ; but I shall be sadly mistaken that 
day. I foresee the day. I shall be deluded then ; I say it 
now while I see clear. . . . But at this rate why live at all, 
since everything in the world is meanness and rascality ? 
Why ? Because to me the world apj)ears thus. Because what- 
ever we may say life is a very fine thing after alL And with- 
out going too deeply into life one can live happily. ^Trusting 
neither to friendship nor gratitude, neither to faithfulness nor 
honesty, let us bravely rise above human littleness, and tarry 
between them and God. Eagerly seize what you can of life ; 
do no harm to your fellows ; never lose an instant of pleasure ; 
lead an easy, exciting, and splendid existence ; rise absolutely, 
and as much as possible above others. Be powerful ! Yes, 

})owerfiil ! powerful ! No matter how ! . . . Then yoii are 
eared or respected. Then you are strong, and that's the 
height of human bliss; for in that case your fellow-crea- 
tures are muzzled through cowardice or otherwise, and don't 
bite. 

Isn't it strange to hear me argue in this fashion ! 
Well, but these arguments by a young dog like me are 
one more proof of what the world is worth. ... It must, 
indeed, be saturated with meanness and malice to have 
saddened me so much in such a short time. I am only 
fifteen 

And this really proves God's divine mercy, for when I 
shall be completely initiated into the abominations of this 
world I shall see that there is only He in the sky above, and 
/ on earth below. This conviction will give me more strength. 
I shall only touch common things to rise above them, and I 
shall esteem myself happy not to take to heart the littlenesses 
for whose sake men fignt, devour and tear each other to pieces 
like so many famished dogs. 

What a lot of words ! And whither am I going ? And 
why ? Oh, visions ! . . . 

I rise higher and higher mentally ; my soul is great ; I am 
capable of immense things ; but what's the use ? since I live 
in a dark corner, uifcnown of the world. 

There now, I am actually regretting my absurd fellow- 
creatures. But I have never despised them, I seek them, on 
the contrary; the world is empty without them. But, but 
— I rate them at their true worth, and mean to make use 
of them. The many are everything; what do I care for a 



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NICE, 1875. 43 

few superior beings ; I long for the world with its sounding 
triumphs. 

Wnen I think that. ... I must fall back on 
that eternally tiresome but necessary word — Let us 
wait! ... Ah! If they knew how hdrd I find this 
waiting ! 

But I love life, I love its annoyances, as well as its 
pleasures. I love God, and I love His world in spite 
of its baseness, and perhaps even on account of all its 
baseness. 

It is still very fine ; this air is pleasant, the moon shines 
clear, the trees are sombre, Nice is beautiful. The most 
beautiful view in the world would not please me as much as 
the one I have from my window. The weather is fine, but it 
is sad, sad, sad ! 

I will read a little more and then go on with my psycho- 
logical novel. 

Why can one never speak without exaggeration? My 
gloomy reflections would be just, if they were a little more 
calm. My violent mode of expression takes away from their 
naturalness. 

There are pure souls, noble actions, and true hearts, but 
they appear by tits, and so rarely that they must not be con- 
founded with the world in general. 

Perhaps people will say that I indulge in such thoughts, 
because I have been annoyed by something; but no, I 
have my usual vexations, nothing special Don't look 
for anything but what is recorded in this Journal I 
am scrupulous, and never omit a thought or a doubt. I 
reproduce myself as faithfully as my poor intellect will 
allow. And if you won't believe me, ii you try to look 
for something beyond or behind what I am saying, so much 
the worse for you. You'll find nothing, because there is 
nothing. 

* Saturday, October 9t A. — Had I been born a Princess de 
Bourbon, like Madame de Longueville, had I counts to wait on 
me, kings for parents and friends, had I on my first appear- 
ance in life only seen heads lowered before me, had I never 
walked but on coats of arms, had my head only reclined 
beneath the regal dais, had I a long line of ancestors all more 
or less illustrious and proud ; yes, had I had all this, it seems 
to me that I could not be prouder or more arrogant than I 
am j 



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44 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

God, how I thank Thee! These thoughts that come 
to me will keep me in the right path, and will not suffer 
me for an instant to lose sight of the brilliant star towards 
which I am advancing ! 

It seems to' me that at present I am not advancing at 
all ; but I will advance, so it is not worth my while to alter 
so fine a phrase. . . . 

Ah ! I am sick of my nothingness ! I rust with inaction, 
I wither in obscurity. Oh tor sunlight, sunlight, sun- 
light! .... 

Whence will it shine on me ? when, where, and how ? I 
don't care to know if only it comes. 

In my moments of mad ambition everything seems 
beneath me, my pen refuses to write commonplace names. 
I consider all my surroundings with infinite disdain, and 
then I say to myself with a sigh : " Well, courage, this 
is only a time of transition which will lead me to better 
times." 

Friday, October 15th. — I forget! My aunt has gone out 
to buy some fruit outside the Church Saint- Reparate, in the 
town of Nice. 

The market-women immediately came round me in a 
crowd. I sang Bossigno che void in a low voice. They 
grew so enthusiastic that the old ones began dancing. I 
said all I knew in Ni<;ois. In a word a popular succesa 
The apple-women made a curtsey, saying Che bdla 
regina! 

1 don't know why the common people always love me, 
and I too feel at home with them. 1 think invself a queen, 
I talk to them benevolently, and take my leave after a 
little ovation like to-day's. If I were queen the people would 
adore me, 

Monday, December 27th. — I had such a strange dream. I 
was playing high above the castle holding a lyre in my hand, 
of which the strings were constantly getting unstrung, and 
I could not draw a single sound from them. I continued 
rising, and saw immense horizons and a strange mass of 
clouds, yellow and red and blue, silvery, golden, torn and 
variegated, then they all grew grey, and after that again 
dazzlmgly bright, and still I went on rising till I reacned 
a height frightful to contemplate, but I had no fear; the 
clouds seemed wan, frozen, and as bright as copper. 
Then all grew dim. I continued holding my lyre with its 



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NIOE, 1875. 45 

loosened strings, and far below me hung a reddish ball, which 
was the earth. 

This Journal contains my whole life, my quietest moments 
are those when I am writing. 

If I should die young I shall burn it, but if I live to be 
old, people will reaa this Journal I believe, if I may say 
so, tnat there's no photograph as yet of a woman's entire 
existence, of all her thoughts, yes, all, all It will be in- 
teresting. 

If I should die young, and if this Journal should, by some 
unlucky accident, not be burnt, readers will say : " Poor child ! 
she was in love, hence her despair ! " 

Let them say so, I won't attempt to disprove it, for the 
more I shall say the less will they believe me. 

Is there anything more mean, more stupid, more base, 
than mankind. Nothing, certainly. Mankind has been 
created for the perdition of ... . Dear me, I was going to 
say the perdition of mankind. 

It's three o'clock in the morning, and, as my aunt says. 
I shall gain nothing by sitting up. 

Ah ! I am impatient. My tune will come ; I would fain 
believe it, but something tells me that it will never come, 
that I shall pass my time in waiting .... always waiting ! 
.... waiting! .... waiting! .... /^ 

I am angry, and have not been crying ; I have not laid. 
down on the noor ; I'm quiet. It's a bad sign ; it's better to 
be furious. 

Tuesday t December 28th. — I am cold ; my mouth burns. 
I know well that it's unworthy of a strong nature to give way 
to a petty annoyance, to feel irritated by the slights of a town 
like Nice; to shake your head, smile contemptuously, and 
think no more of it, would be too much. To weep with rage 
gives me more pleasure. 

I have grown so nervous that every piece of music which 
is not merely a ffalop, sets me weeping. I recognise myself in 
every opera, ana the most commonplace words give me the 
heartacne. 

Such a frame of mind is worthy of a woman of thirty. 
But to have nerves at fifteen, and to cry like a fool at every 
stupid and sentimental phrase, is too much ! 

Only a little while ago I went down on my knees sobbing 
and imploring God, with outstretched arms, and looking 



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46 MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

right in front of me, just as if God were present in the 
room. 

It seems God does not hear me ; yet I cry loudly enough. 
I think I say impertinent things to God. 

I am so desperate, so unhappy just now, that I wish for 
nothing. If all the inimical Nice society came to kneel down 
before me, I wouldn't budge. 

Yes ! yes ! I would kick it ! For, after all, what have I done 
to it ? 

God shall I pass my whole life thus ? 

There will be pigeon-shooting on Monday, I don't even 
trouble about it, wnereas formerly I 

1 wish I possessed the combined talents of all authors, so 
as to be able to give a true idea of my profound despair, my 
wounded self-love, and all my thwarted wishes. 

I have only to wish for a thing to make sure it won't 
happen. 

Shall I ever find a stray half-starved dog beaten by street 
boys, a horse dragging enormous loads from morning till 
evening, a donkey in a mill, a church mouse, a teacher 
of mathematics without lessons, a destitute priest — in short, 
any poor devil sufficiently sad, wretched, and crushed 
sufficiently depressed and humiliated, to compare him to 
me? 

What is really dreadful is that past slights do not 
slip easily off my heart, but leave a hideous trace 
behind ! 

You will never understand my condition ; you will 
never be able to enter into my existence. You laugh. . . . 
yes, you laugh ! But perhaps there will be someboay who 
will cry : " O God, take pity on me, hear my prayer ! I swear 
that I believe in Thee." 

A life such as mine, with a character such as mine ! ! ! 

I have not even the amusements of my age ! I have not 
even what every American girl in short petticoats has ; I don't 
even dance ! . . . . 

Wednesday, December 29th. — O God, if thou wilt 
suffer me to live as I like, I promise, if thou takest pity 
on me to walk on foot from Kliarkoff to Kieff as pilgrims 
do. 

Is it not a sin to do what I am doing ? Saints have made 
vows, but I seem to make conditions, rio ; God sees that my 
intentions are good, and if I do evil He will forgive me 
because I wish to do well 



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NICE, 1875. 47 

O God, forgive me, and have pity on me ; suffer me to 
cany out my vows ! 

Holy Mary, I may be foolish, but it seems that you, being 
a woman, are more merciful and indulgent ; take me under 
your protection, and I swear to dedicate a tenth part of my 
income to good works. ... If I do ill it's unintentional 
Forgive me ! 



F 

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48 



CHAPTER IV. 

ROME, NAPLES, NICE, PARIS, BERLIN- RUSSIA, 1876. 

Rome, Saturday, January 1st, — Oh Nice, Nice, is there 
a prettier town in the world after Paris ! Paris and Nice, 
Nice and Paris. There's no country like France, one only 
lives in France. 

I must begin to study, considering I am in Rome on that 
account. Rome does not make the impression of Rome 
on me. 

Is it really Rome ? I am perhaps mistaken. Is it possible 
to live in any town but Nice ? To see other towns, to pass 
through them, well and good, but to make your home in 
them ! 

Never mind ! I shall get used to it. 

And all those people I left behind at Nice, it seems as if 
they must remain in the position in which I left them and 
that they won't move until I return. Alas! they move 
without me, they enjoy themselves without me, and care not 
a hang for the " creature in white." 

Being out of sight I should also like to be out of their 
gossip. 

I am told that they talk of me. I can't imagine it. I 
can only think of the month of May when I shall make my 
appearance in Nice, when I shall go with my dogs to the 
Promenade des Anglais in the morning without a hat. 

I feel here like a poor shrub that has been transplanted. 
I look out of window and see iilthy houses instead of the 
Mediterranean ; I go to look out of the other window and 
instead of the castle see the corridor of the hotel Instead of 
the clock from the tower I hear that of the hotel. . . . 

It's horrid to get into habits and to detest change. 

Wednesday, January 5th. — I have seen the front view of 
St. Peter's, it is superb ; it has enchanted me, especially the 
colonnade on the left, because no house interferes with it, 
and those pillars with the sky for background produce the 
most striking effect. You might fancy yourself in ancient 
Greece. 

The bridge and castle of San Angelo are also to my taste. 

It's grand, it's sublime ! 



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ROME, 1876. 49 

And the Coliseum ! 

But what can I say after Byron ? 

Monday, January 10th. — We paid a visit to Mgr. de 
Falloux, but he has not left his bed these twenty days. 
From there to the Countess Antonelli, but she left Rome ten 
days ago. At last we visit the Vatican. I have never seen 
great people close at hand, and I never knew how to address 
them, out my instinct told me that we were not behaving 
as we ought. Just think, the Cardinal Antonelli, the pope 
de facto if not in name, the mainspring that sets all tne 
papal machinery going and still keeps it going ! 

We reach tne right colonnade in sublime self-confidence. 
I push aside, not without trouble, the crowd of guides 
surrounding us, and at the foot of the stairs I accost the 
first soldier, and ask for His Eminence. This soldier sends 
me to his chief, who assigns me to another soldier, very 
funnily dressed, who takes us up four enormous flights of 
stairs of variegated marble, and at last we reach a square 
gallery, which coming so unexpectedly upon me produces a 
great effect. I could not have imagined such a view in the 
interior of any palace whatever, although I knew well from 
description what the Vatican is like. 

Seeing this immensity I should not like to see the Popes 
abolished They are really great in having produced tnis 
grandeur, and worthy of all honour for having used their 
life, their power, and their gold, in leaving to posterity this 
colossal Abracadabra called tne Vatican. 

In this gallery we find some common soldiers, an officer, 
and two guards aressed like knaves of cards. 

I agam ask for His Eminence. The officer politely re- 
quests my name, I write it down, some one takes it and we 
wait, I inwardly wondering at our absurd escapade. 

The officer tells me that the hour is badly chosen, as the 
Cardinal is at dinner and will probably see no one. And in 
fact the man returns and tells us tnat His Eminence has 
just retired to his private rooms and cannot receive us, as he 
feels slightly indisposed ; but that if we will have the kindnass 
to leave our cards below and return to-morrow morning he 
will probably admit us. 

And so we leave, much amused at our little visit to 
Cardinal Antonelli. 

Friday, January \Uh. — At eleven o'clock Katorbinsky, 
my young Polish drawing master, came, bringing a model with 
F 2 



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50 MARIS BASHKIRTSEFF. 

him, a perfect head of Christ by softening the lines and tints. 
This poor wretch has only one leg ; he only sits for the head. 
Katorbinsky told me that he always sat to him for his figures 
of Christ. 

I confess I felt slightly nervous on being told there and 
then to copy from Nature without any preparation ; I took the 
charcoal and boldly sketched in the outlines. " Very well," 
said the master, " now do the same thing with the brush." I 
took the brush, and did as I was told. 

" Very well," he said again, " now begin to paint." And I 
painted, and it was done in an hour and a half. 

My wretched model had not budged, and as for me, I 
could hardly believe my eyes. With Binsa it used to take 
me two or three lessons to draw a pencil outline and to make 
a copy, whereas now it was all done at a single sitting, and 
from Nature — outline, colour, background and all. I am 
satisfied with myself, and I wouldn't say so if I had not 
deserved it. I am exacting, and find it difficult to please 
myself. 

Nothing is lost in this world. On what will my love be 
expended ? Every creature, every man, contains within 
himself an equal quantity of this fluid ; but according to his 
constitution, his character, and his circumstances, he ap- 
pears to have more or less; everybody loves continualty, 
but the objects of it vary, and if he appears to love nothing, 
it is because this fluid goes out to Grod, or to Nature, or 
spends itself in words, m writings, or simply in thinking 
or sighing. 

It is true there are human beings who eat, drink, laugh, 
and do nothing else ; with them the fluid is either completely 
absorbed by the animal functions, or else scattered without 
discrimination on men and things generally, and those are 
the people usually called good-natured, who, as a rule, do not 
know how to love. 

There are also beings who love no one, vulgarly speaking. 
This is incorrect ; they always love something, but differently 
from others, in their own peculiar fashion. But there are also 
unfortunates who don't love in reality, because they have 
loved and love no longer. Another mistake ! They love no 
longer we say, well .... Why, then, do they suffer ? Because 
they still love though they don't think so, either on account 
of an unhappy love or because of the loss of the loved 
one. 

With me, more than most others, this fluid is active, and 



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HOME, J876. 51 

manifests itself continually ; if I were to try to suppress it I 
should burst. 

I shower it like beneficent rain on an unworthy scarlet 

feranium which has no notion of it. It is one of my fancies, 
t pleases me, and I imagine a lot of things, and I have grown 
used to think of it, and now that I am used to it, it is difficult 
to get out of the habit. 

I am sad ! I am afraid of being afraid For when I 

anticipate some misfortune, it's sure to happen. I dare not 
pray to God, for I have only to ask for a thing in order to 
make sure that it won't happen. I dare not omit to pray, 
for afterwards I might say — "Ah, had I only prayed to 
God!" 

Certainly, I will pray ; I shall have nothing to reproach 
myself with, at least 

r- 

Thursday, January 20th. — Faccioti made me sing all 
my notes to-day. I have three octaves, less two notes. 

He was amazed. As to me, I am beside myself with joy. 
My voice, my treasure ! It is my dream to erow famous 
on the boards. It is quite as fine, to my mind, as to be a 
(jprincess. 

We went to see Monteverde's studio ; and then that of the 
Marquis d'Epinay, to whom we had a letter of introduction. 
D'Epinay produces wonderful statues ; he showed me all his 

studies, all his beginnings. Madame M had spoken to 

him of Marie as an artistic and marvellous being. W e admire 
everything, and ask him to do a statue of me. It will cost 
twenty thousand francs. It's dear, but beautiful. I tell him 
that I think a great deal of myself. He measures my foo t by ypr 
that of a statue, and mine turns out to be smaller DTEpinay 
exclaims, " It's Cinderella's ! " 

He arranges the hair and draperies of his statues admirably. 
I am burning to be modelled. 

p 

God, grant my prayer ! Preserve my voice ; should I 
lose all else I shall have my voice. God, continue to 
show me Thy goodness ; do not let me die of grief and 
vexation ! I long so much to go into society. Time passes 
and I make no progress ; I am nailed to the same place, I 
who would live, live oy steam, I who burn, who boil over, who 
bubble with impatience ! 

" I have never seen in any one such a fever of life," said 
Doria of me. 

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52 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

If you knew me you would have some notion of my 
impatience, my grief. 

God, take pity on me ! I have only Thee ; it is to Thee 
I pray ; Thou alone who canst comfort me ! 

Saturday, January 22nd. — Dina has had her hair done 
by a hairdresser, and I too ; but the horrid creature has done 
it frightfully. In ten minutes I have changed it, and we 
start for the Vatican. I have never seen any thmg to compare 
with the staircases and rooms along which we pass. As in the 
case of St. Peter's, I find nothing to criticise. A valet, attired 
entirely in red damask, leads us down a long, admirably 
painted gallery, with bronze medallions and cameos fixed in 
the walls ; to the right and left are somewhat hard chairs, 
and at the end the bust of Pius IX., and beneath it a 
comfortable gilt arm-chair of red velvet. Our appointment 
was for a quarter to twelve, but only at one o clock the 
portiire was arawn back, and, coming after a few guards and 
officers in uniforms, appeared His Holiness the Pope himself, 
dressed in white with a red cloak, and leaning on an ivory- 
headed stick, between several cardinals. 

1 knew him well from his portraits, but he is, in reality, 
much older ; so much so that his lower lip hangs down like 
an old dog's. Every one knelt down, and the rope, first of 
all, approached us and asked who we were ; one of the 
cardinals read the letters of introduction, and told him the 
names. 

" Russians ? Then, from St. Petersburg ? " 

" No, Holy Father," said mamma, " from Little Russia." 

" These young ladies belong to you ? " he asked again. 

" Yes, Holy Father." 

We were placed at his right hand, those to the left were 
kneeling too. 

" Get up, get up," said the Holy Father. 

Dina was about to do so. 

" No," said he, " I meant those on my left hand, you may 
remain." 

And he placed his hand on her head so as to make it bend 
lower. He then gave us his hand to kiss, and went on to 
others, addressing a few words to each. When he passed to the 
left it was our turn to rise. He stopped again in the middle, 
and everybody knelt down once more, and he made a little 
speech in very bad French, comparing the demand for 
indulgence at the coming Jubilee with the repentance people 
experience at the approacn of death, and saying that we must 



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ROME, 1876. 53 

gain heaven little by little by doing something pleasing to 
God every day. 

"You must gain your country little by little," said he, 
" but your country is not London, not St. Petersburg, not 
Paris, it is Heaven. You must not wait to the last day 
of your life, you must think of it every day, and not do as 
one does at the approach of the Jubilee." " Non e vero ? " 
he added in Italian turning to one of his suite, " anche il 
Cardinale .... (I have forgotten the name) lo so" 

The Cardinal thus addressed began to laugh, and the 
others followed suit ; it must have nad some meaning for 
them, and his Holiness went away looking very pleased and 
smiling after having given his blessing to all the persons 

E resent, the rosaries and images, &c. I nad a rosary which I 
ave put away in my soap-box as soon as I got home. 
\Vnile the old man was giving us nis blessing and 
talking, I prayed God to bring about that the Pope's bless- 
ing should prove a real blessing, and to deliver me from all 
my sorrows. 

There were some Cardinals there who looked at me just 
as if they were coming out of the opera at Nice. 

Sunday, January 23rd. — Oh ! how bored I am ! If we 
were all together at least ! What a foolish idea to separate in 
this fashion ! We should always remain together, there are 
fewer annoyances and one feels more comfortable. Never, 
never more must we separate. We should feel a thousand 
times happier together — grandpapa, aunt, everybody, and 
Walitzky. 

Monday, February 7th. — As we got out of our carriage at 
the door of the hotel I saw two young Romans looking at 
us as we entered. We sat down to dinner at once, and the 
men remained standing in the middle of the square looking 
at our windows. 

Mamma, Dina, and the others, laughed, but I, being more 
pnident, and afraid lest I should betray any interest in what 
might prove two knaves — for I was not sure of these two men 
being tne same as those at the door of the hotel — sent L6onie 
to a shop across the way, telling her to closely observe the two 
persons and to come back and describe them to me. L£onie 
returned, and described the shorter of the two. " They are 
perfect gentlemen," she said. From that instant we do 
nothing but go to the windows, looking through the blinds, 



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54 MARIE BASHKIRT8EFF. 

and making jokes about the poor wretches exposed to the 
rain, wind, and snow. 

It was six o'clock when we came home, and those two 
angels remained in the sauare until a quarter to eleven, 
waiting for us. What legs tney must have to remain standing 
thus for five hours ! 

Monday, February 14£A. — The Italian came this evening 
as usual Mamma has sent Fortune to buy some paper. 
This gentleman stopped Fortune, and spoke to him on several 
occasions. This is nis story, which, although not as classical 
as that of Th£rarn&ie is none the less interesting, told in a 
Ni<;ois accent not without charm. 

" I went out to buy some paper, and this gentleman began 
speaking to me. He said to me : ' Is it here that those ladies 
live ? ' I answered ' Yea' Then he said to me : c If they 
would pay a visit to my villa I would send them my coup6 or 
a landau, whatever they wished/ Then I said to him, that 
you didn't know him. ' The mother of these young ladies 
knows me, and we meet each other every evening at the Villa 
Borghese and on the Pincio/ I spoke so much to him that 
he gave me his card. Then I brought it to you, and went 
down-stairs. He began talking to me again. Then I told 
him that my ladies had forbidden me to talk to him, and then 
he said, ' I am going home to write a letter ; I shall return in 
half an hour if you will come down and take charge of it/ 
Then I told him that 'I could not be always going down- 
stairs/ Then he said to me : l If the ladies wui suspend a 
strina from the window I will tie my letter to it, and they 
can draw it up to the balcony. Hfcve the ladies got any 
string ? ' Then I told him again that you did not know him. 
He answered : ' But if the laaies will tell me by whom I can 
be introduced, I will at once go in search of this person. 
I made no reply to this. Then he told me it was all for 
the sake of tne young lady who had been at the Villa 
Borghese yesterday, and was dressed in black with her hair 
down ' (it was Dina). Then he told me ' that if you would 
go to see his villa, he would invite people and show it 
to you, and if you liked he would send you his 
carriage' . . . /' 

Fortune's expression was a sight to see. He had crossed his 
hands behind him, advanced one foot, his mouth stood open 
to his ears, and his eyes, twinkling cunningly, looked tit for the 
biggest devil on the face of the earth. 

It's almost Spanish, and we laughed so much that Lolo 



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ROME, 1876. 55 

nearly fainted for a few minutes. A genuine romance k la 
Rosina. 

At first I was angry, and thought it impertinent ; but on 
seeing how much pleasure it gave to Pina and her mother, I 
forgot my anger, and joined the lively chorus of pleasant 
banter. 

Dinagot as red as a peony; she will now give herself 
airs again; and' she is disagreeable when she gives herself 
these airs. 

This gentleman has a villa, he is rich, no doubt ! Oh 
dear, if he would only marry Dina ! I wish it more than any- 
thing ; and we have just had new gowns sent from Worth, hers 
being all covered with white flowers exactly like orange 
blossom. 

Tuesday, Februainj 15th. — Rossi comes to see us, and 
we ask him at once who this gentlemen is. "It's Count 

A the Cardinal's nephew, he couldn't be anything 

else." 

Count A is like G who, as all the world knows, 

is exceedingly handsome. 

This evening, as ne looked less at me I was able to ex- 
amine him more closely. So I had a good look at A 

He is charming, but I must add that I have no luck, and those 
I like to look at don't look at me. He looked at me through 
his eye-glass, but respectfully, as on the first day. He posed a 
good deal, and when we rose to go he snatched up his eye-glass 
and never left oft* looking. 

"I asked you who this gentleman is," said my mother 
to Rossi, " because he remmds me a good deal of my 
son." 

" He is a charming young fellow," said Rossi ; " he is 
rather passerdLo, very gay, very handsome, and full of clever- 
ness." 

I am delighted at hearing this. I have not felt so much 

Fleasure as this evening for a long time. I bored myself. 
had no wish for anything, because there was nobody to 
think of. 

" He is verv like my son," said mamma. 
"He is a charming young fellow," said Rossi, " and if you 
like I will introduce him to you." 
" I shall be delighted." 

Friday, Februanry ISth. — There is a grand fancy dress and 
masked ball &t the Capitol this evening. I, Dina, and her 



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56 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

mother, go there at eleven o'clock. I have not put on a 
domino, but wear a black silk gown with a long train, and 
tight-fitting bodice, a tunic of black gauze with silver 
lace trimmings, draped in front, and bunched up behind, 
so as to make the most graceful hood imaginable ; I 
have on a black velvet mask with black lace, light 
gloves, and a rose with some lilies of the valley in the 
bodice. It was captivating, and our appearance made a 
sensation. 

I was very nervous, and did not dare speak to anybody, 
but a number of men surrounded us, and Tended by taking 
the arm of one of them, whom I had never seen. It is very 
amusing, but I think most of the people recognised ma 
There ought to have been less coquetry in my get-up, but 
never mind. 

Three Russians fancied they knew us, and coming behind 
us spoke loudly in Russian honing we should betray our- 
selves ; but instead of that I made the people round us form 
a circle and talk Italian. They went away, saying they were 
fools, and that I was an Italian. 

Enter the Duke of Cesaro. 

" Whom are you looking for ? " 

" A ; is he coming ? " 

"Yes; in the ineanwnile stop with me . . . the most 
elegant woman in the world ! " 

" Oh ! there he is . . . My dear fellow, I was looking for 

you." 

" Bah ! but as it's for the first time I am going to hear you, 
take care of your pronunciation, you lose mucn on a closer 
view. Pay attention to your conversation ! " 

It seems this was witty, for Cesaro and two others began 
to laugh with delight. I felt sure that they knew me. 

" We recognise your figure," they said to me ; " why are 
you not in white ? " 

" I think, upon my word, that I'm playing the part of 
supernumerary, said Cesaro, seeing that we continued talking 
to A . 

" I think so too," I said ; " go away." 

And, taking the young fop's arm, I passed through the 
various rooms, taking no notice of the rest of the world. 

A 's face is remarkably handsome ; he has a pale, clear 

complexion, black eyes, a long, straight nose, pretty ears, 
a little mouth, very passable teeth, and a moustache of 
twenty-three. 

I treated him as a little hypocrite, a young fop, a poor 



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ROME, 1876. 57 

wretch, a madman ; and he told me, with the most 
serious air in the world, that he had *run away from 
his father's house at nineteen; that he had plunged into 
life ; that he is blase .... that he has never been in 
love; &c. 

" How often have you been in love ? " he asked me. 
"Twice." 
"Oh! oh!" 
" Perhaps even more." 
"How I would like to be the more" 
" Young jackanapes ! . . . . Tell me why did all these 
people take me for the lady in white ? " 

" Well, you are like her. That's why I came with you. I 
am madly m love with her." 

" That isn't a very amiable speech." 
" What would you have ? It's the case." 
"You've been staring at her enough, in all conscience, 
and she is well pleased, and poses." 

" No, never. She never poses One may say what 

one likes, but not that ! " 

" It is easy to see you are in love." 
" Yes, with you : you are like her." 
" Bah ! I have a much better figure." 
" No matter. Give me a flower." 

I gave him a flower ; he gave me a spray of ivy instead. 
His languishing airs and tones exasperate me. 

" You have the look of a priest. Is it true that you will 
be one ? " 

He laughed. 

" I hate priests. I have been a soldier." 
" You ! You've only been at a seminary." 
" I hate the Jesuits ; that's why I am always on bad terms 
with my family." 

" My dear, you are ambitious, and would like nothing 
better than to have your slipper kissed." 

" What an adorable little hand ! " he cried, kissing it — an 
operation which he repeated several times in the course of 
the evening. 

" Why did you begin so badly with me?" I asked. 
" Because I took you for a Roman at first, and I detest 
that kind of woman." And, in fact, when I was with Cesaro, 

and he proposed to sit down, A placed himself on my 

left hana, and while I was talking to my cavalier he tried 
to put his arm round my waist, looking most silly all the 
time. 



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58 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

"If you don't get rid of this little donkey," I said to 
Cesaro, " I shall go away." 

And he got rid of the little fool. 

I have seen men only occasionally — in driving, at the 
theatre, and at home. Oh dear, how aiflerent they are at a 
mask ball ! They are just as attentive, tricky, and absurd 
here as they look grand and reserved in their carriages. 
Only Doria lost none of his dignity. Perhaps because he is 
too much above human pettinesses. I left my young fool 
" at least ten times, and he managed to find me again as often. 

Dominica urged our going, but the young fellow 
managed to detain us. At last we succeedea in securing 
two easy-chairs, and then the conversation took a different 
turn. 

We got to talk of St. Augustine and l'Abb£ Prevost. 

At last we escaped without any one following us ; for all 
who had seen me in the street knew me again. 

I have been amused and disenchanted. 

A does not altogether please me, and yet .... Ah ! 

the rogue of a priest's son has carried off my glove and kissed 
my left hand. 

" You know/' he said, " I won't promise to carry this glove 
always next to my heart — it would be silly ; but it will be a 
pleasant remembrance." 

We left Fortune behind, so as to make them lose the clue ; 
he came back alone. 

Monday, February 21s£. — I have the honour of intro- 
ducing you to a madwoman. Judge for yourself. I seek, I 
find, I invent a man; 1 stake my fife on him ; he becomes 
part and parcel of all my sensations ; and then when my head, 
open to all the winds of heaven, is full of him, it will perhaps 
only bring me suffering and tears. I am far from wishing 
that this should happen, but I say it by way of warning, ana 
I should like to know when the true Roman carnival is to 
begin. At present I have only seen balconies decorated with 
white, red, blue, yellow, and pink draperies, and hardly any 
masks. 

Tuesday, February 23rd. — Our neighbours have arrived ; 
the lady is amiable ; some of the carriages are splendid. 
Troily and Giorgio have a fine carriage drawn by big horses, 
and the footmen wear white breeches. It was the prettiest 
carriage. They cover us with flowers. Dina blushes crimson, 
and her mother beams with delight. 



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ROME, 1876. 59 

At last they have fired the cannon, the race is about to 
begin, and A— — has not arrived; but the young man of 
yesterday turns up, and, as our balconies adjoin, we begin 
talking. He gives me a bouquet, I give him a camellia, and 
he makes as many tender and gallant speeches as is permissible 
to a gentlemanly young man when he has not had the honour 
of having been introduced to a young lady. He swears 
always to keep this flower, to dry it in his watch. And he 
promises to come to Nice and show me the petals of the flower, 
which will always keep fresh in his heart. It was very amusing. 

The Count B — — (that's the name of the handsome 
stranger) did not make me sad ; when, looking down on the 

base crowd below,TT saw A bowing to me. Dina threw 

him a bouquet, and ten arms were raised from among the 

crowd to catch it flying. One of the men did so, but A , 

with the utmost coolness, seized him by the throat and held 
him with his strong hands till the wretcn let go his prize. It 
was so fine that A— — looked almost sublime. Full of 
enthusiasm, and forgetting my blushes, I blushed again as I 
threw him a camellia, the string falling with it He took it, 
put it in his pocket, and disappeared. Still full of emotion, 

I turned to B- , who made use of the opportunity to pay 

me compliments on my Italian and heaven knows what. The 
Barberi pass by with the swiftness of wind amidst the 
shouts ana hisses of the populace, but on our balcony we speak 
only of the fascinating way in which A repossessed him- 
self of the bouquet. Keally, he looked like a hon, or a tiger, 
I expected nothing of the kind from such a delicate-looking 
young man. 

As I said at the beginn i ng, he is a singular mixture of 
languor and energy. 

I can still see his clenched hands gripping the knave's 
throat. 

You will, perhaps, laugh at what I am going to say, but I 
shall say it all the same. 

By such an act a man may win a woman's love at a stroke. 
He looked so calm while throttling this villain, that my heart 
seemed to stop beating. Whenever they speak of it at home 
I blush like a Nice rose. 

Three-quarters of an hour later, when I was at the height 
of my flirtation with our neighbour, I saw a valet carrying an 
enormous bouquet fastened to a long pole, covered all over 
with gilt paper, and apparently not sure to whom he was 
to offer it, when a stick pushed against the balcony shoved it 
in my direction. 



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60 MARIE BASBKIBTSEFF. 

It came from A——, who gave me back my camellia. I 

did not understand nor see A at first, but after hesitating 

for an instant, I managed to lift and take the magnificent 
bouquet in my arms, smiling the while at this horrid son of a 
priest. 

" Oh, how splendid ! " exclaimed the English lady. 

" E hello veramente" said B , a little vexed. 

"It really is charming," I said, quite delighted at 
heart. 

And carrying my spoils, I got into the carriage, looking 
once more at that dreadful son of a priest. 

Having seen me take the bouquet, he bowed in his calm 
way, and vanished from sight. 

I can do nothing else all the evening but speak of it, and 
constantly break into the conversation and speak of it again. 

" Isn't A adorable ? " I say it in fun, but am rather afraid 

of thinking so seriously. At present I am trying to convince 

my people that I am preoccupied with A , and they won't 

believe me ; but from the moment that I shall say the 
opposite of what I am saying now, they will have every 
Ijreason to believe me. 

I have grown impatient again, and should like to sleep to 
make the tune pass, and go to the balcony again. 

Monday, February 28th. — When I go out on the balcony at 
the Corso, I find all our neighbours at their places, and the 
carnival full of animation. I look down and see the 
Cardinalino and his friend on the opposite side. On seeing 
him I grew confused, and blushed and rose from my seat ; but 
the naughty son of a priest was no longer there, and on 
turning round to mamma I saw her giving her hand to some 
one — to Pietro A . 

" Ah ! that's right. You have come to my balcony ; not a 
bad idea." 

By way of politeness, he remains some time with mamma, 
and tnen sits down by me. 

As before, I occupy the right corner of the balcony next 

the English lady's seat. B is late ; his place is taken by 

an Englishman, whom his countrywoman introduces to me, 
and who is very attentive. 

"What a life you are leading!" says A , in his 

calm and gentle way. " You don t go to the theatre any 
more." 

" I was ill ; my finger still hurts me." 

" Where ? " (He wanted to take hold of my hand.) " I 



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ROME, 1876. 61 

have been every evening to the Apollo, you know, only 
staying five minutes." 

"Why?" 

" Why ? " he repeated, looking me straight in the eyes. 

" Yes, why ? " 

" Because I went there on your account, and you were not 
there." 

He says a good many more things of the same kind, rolls 
his eyes, and behaves in a very amusing way. 
T" Give me a rose." 

"What for?" 

You will acknowledge that I was putting an embarrassing 
question. I like to ask questions which can only be answered 
foolishly, or not at all. 

"Do look at that tube," I said, pointing to a horrid 
creature in a long overcoat and tall hat. " If you flatten it 
I will give you a rose." 

Then followed a sight for the gods to see. A and 

Plowden did their best to throw old bouquets at the head of 
this man, who, getting animated in his turn, began aiming 
them at us. 

I was shielded by the Cardinalino and Plowden, and the 
bouquets, I ought rather to say brooms, were falling all round. 
We ended by breaking a pane of glass and a lamp. It was 
very interesting. 

B offers me a big basket of flowers ; he blushes and 

bites his lips ; I can't think what's the matter with him. But 
let us leave this tiresome creature, and turn to the eyes of 
Pietro A . 

He has adorable eyes, especially when he doesn't open 
them too much. His eyelids partly covering the pupils, give 
an expression to his eyes whicn goes to my head and makes 
- my heart beat. 

Sunday y March 5th. — There is a great race at the Villa 
Borghese ; a man has taken a wager to go forty times round 
the Place de Sienne in the Villa in an hour and twenty-five 
minutes. All the world, following the lead of the charming 
princess, goes to see it. 

Zucchmi is there ; he makes me laugh ; Doria and many 
others. This makes me think of horse races ; all these 
people walking about on the grass make a very pretty 
picture. 

I catch sight of the Cardinalino, and turn away to speak 
to Debeck, because I feel that I am blushing. 



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62 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" Good morning, Mademoiselle," he says, coming up to me. 

" Good morning, Monsieur." 
o There are two people who exist for me, independently of 
iJ each other, Doria and A . 

Doria, majestic, freezing, awe-inspiring. 

A full of gaiety, coquetry, and charm. 

Pietro A evidently pleases me. 

I tell them I have been eating violets, and Plowden and 
Cardinalino ask me for some ; I give them some from my 
nosegay, and they eat them like two donkeys. 

A ended by eating the threads of silk which I pulled 

from my fringe. 

is a charming child, his little pouting ways are 



enchanting ; for example, he brings me a pack of cards and 
asks me to play. 

Plowden also wants to play. 

" But you can't ! " cries the fiery son of a priest, opening 
his eyes to their widest. 

"Yes, yes, yes," I say. " Three can play together, it's all 
the same." 

" It's all the same ! " says he, looking at me as if he had 
been pricked with a pin. 

I have his voice in my ears as I am writing ; I am 
very much in love with him. I say it quite naturally, 
as I feel it. When he goes away I am sorry; I never 
have enough of him. It's absurd to get as infatuated about 
people as I do ! 

"Be good to B ," says Dina, "if only to torment 

Pietro." 

Torment ! but if I haven't the least desire for it. Torment ! 
excite his jealousy — fie ! In love, it's like the paint women 

}>ut on their faces — it's vulgar, it's low. You may torment a 
over unconsciously, naturally, so to speak ; but do it on 
purpose, fie ! 

Moreover, I can't do it on purpose ; I haven't got sufficient 
character. Is it possible to go and talk and do the amiable 
with some monster of a man, when the Cardinalino is by and 
one can talk to him ? 

The sly rogue is courting mamma most persistently, and 
she calls him ner dear child. 

I like to see him so attentive to her. He complains of his 
parents, who won't allow him to keep horses, because he spent 
too much money when he ran away at seventeen and entered 
the army. He will be twenty-three in April. 



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ROME, 1876. 63 

A child in age and in character. 

Monday, March 6th. — I remember yesterday, during the 

race, I dropped my nosegay. A jumped down, picked it 

up, and had to climb on his knees to get up again. 

" What will he do to get up ? " cried Dina. 

" Oh, it's very easy," I said. 

"All I do is very easy," said the dear boy, dusting his 
knees. " I make myself ridiculous, and it's very easy." And 
he looked away to show he was piqued. 

May, 1877 (Note) — Let me beg you, once for all, not to 
attach too much importance to my infatuations; I did not 

really think of A , as I wrote .... I idealised him to 

make it more like a romance. 

March — . — At three o'clock we approach the Porto del 

Popolo. Debeck, Plowden, and A meet us there. A 

helps me to mount, and we start. 

My habit is of black cloth, and made all of a piece by 
Laferriere, so that it is free from English stiffness or the 
ugliness that's so common ; it is a close clinging princess 
robe, 

" How chic you look on horseback," says A . 

Plowden bores me by trying to keep always with 
me. 

Pietro is anxious about mamma, who follows us in a 
landau. 

Once left alone with the Cardinalino, our conversation 
naturally turns on love. 

" Eternal love is the tomb of love," says the child : " we 
must love for a day and then change." 

" What a charming idea ! Is it your uncle, the Cardinal, 
who taught you that ? " 

"Yes," he answered, laughing. 

Wretched son of a dog and a priest, I think he has 
annoyed me seriously with this truth, said with his habitual 
calm. 

Once in the open country we begin to gallop, leap ditches, 
and race like the wind. It s delicious ! He rides to perfec- 
tion. 

Tuesday, March 7th. — By dint of talking nonsense I have 
fallen in love with this good-for-nothing. It can't be called 
love ; he has given his likeness to mamma, and when he had 



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64 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

left I took it to my room, looked at it, found it charming, and 
went to sleep dreaming of it. And I saw him in fancy, and 
had so much to say to him ! . . . . 

Tuesday, March 8th. — I am going to put on my riding 
habit, and at four o'clock I am at the Porto del Popolo, where 
the Cardinalino is waiting for me with two horses, mamma 
and Dina following in the carriage. 

" Let us turn this way," says my cavalier. 

"Let us." And wo entered some kind of field, a green 
and pleasant spot called La Farnesina. He began his declara- 
tions again by saying : 

" I am in despair ! " 

" What is despair ? " 

" It's when a man wishes to have a thing which he can't 
have." 

" Do you wish for the moon ? " 

" No, the sim." 

" Where is it ? " I said, looking at the horizon, " I think 
it has set." 

" No, it is there, shining on me ; it is you." 

"Bah! Bah!" 

" I have never loved ; I hate women ; I have only had 
intrigues with light women." 

"But when you saw me you loved me ?~ 

" Yes, at first sight, the first evening at the theatre." 

" You said it was over." 

" I was joking." 

" How can I tell when you joke and when you are 
serious ? " 

" But you can see that ! " 

" That's true ; we can nearly always tell when a person is 
telling the truth ; but you don't inspire me with confidence, 
and your fine ideas about love even less." 

" What are my ideas ? I love you and you won't believe 
me. Ah ! " he said, biting his lips and looking away, " then I 
am nothing, and can do nothing. 

" Come, act the hypocrite," said I, laughing. 

" A hypocrite, always a hypocrite," he cried, turning upon 
me angrily ; " is that what you think of me ? " 

" And other things besides. Be quiet and listen. If one 
of your friends were to pass at this instant you would look at 
him and wink and laugh." 

"la hypocrite ; oh, if that's so, well, well ! " 

" You are torturing your horse, let us dismount." 



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ROME, 1876. 65 

" You don't believe that I love you ? " he said, again 
trying to look me in the eyes, and stooping towards 
me with an expression of sincerity that made my heart 
beat. 

"Well, no," I repeated, falteringly. "Rein in your horse 
and let us get off." 

All his tender speeches were still mixed up with precepts 
of horsemanship. 

" Can one help admiring you ? " said he, stopping a few 
paces lower than I was, and looking at me. " You are beauti- 
ful," he continued, " but I think you have no heart." 

" On the contrary, I have an excellent heart, I assure 
you." 

" You have an excellent heart, and you won't love ! " 
" That depends on circumstances." 
" You are a spoilt child, are you not ? " 
" Whv should I not be spoilt ? I am not ignorant, I am 
good, only I am hot-tempered." 

We went down the hill all the time, but at a walking pace, 
for the slope was steep, and the horses kept catching m the 
unevennesses of the road and the tufts of grass. 

" As for me, I have a bad character, I am violent, hot- 
tempered, choleric I will try and get better. . . . Let us 
jump this ditch, will you ? " 
"No." 

And I crossed by a little bridge, while he jumped over the 
ditch. 

" Let us trot gently to the carriage," he said, " for we are 
not going down hill any more." 

I set off trotting, but when we were a few paces from the 
carriage my horse oroke into a gallop. I turned to the right 

A followed me, my horse took to galloping very fast ; I 

tried to rein it in, but he took the bit in his teetn. TTie brute 
had bolted. The plain stretched before us ; I was borne along, 
all ray efforts were useless; my hair tumbled down my 
shoulders, my hat fell on the ground, my strength relaxed, I 

got frightened. I heard A behind me, I was conscious of 

the emotion they felt in the carriage ; I felt inclined to jump 
down, but the horse went like an arrow. How stupid to be 
killed like this ! I thought. I had no strength left ; they must 
save me ! 

"Hold him in!" cried A , who could not catch 

me up. 

" I can't," I said in a low voice. 

My arms were trembling. In another instant I should 
G 2 



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66 MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 

have fainted, when he came up with ine, hit the horse across 
the head with his whip, and I seized hold of his arm as 
much to keep myself from falling as to touch him. 

I looked at him ; he was deadly pale. I never saw any 
one so upset. 

" Heavens ! " he exclaimed, " what a fright you have given 
me!" 

" Oh yes, I should have fallen but for you ; I could no 
longer hold him in. Now it's over .... Very nice, to be 
sure," I added, trying to laugh. "Will somelxnly give me 
my hat?" 

Dina had got out, and we went to the landau. Mamma 
was quite beside herself, but she said nothing. She knew 
something was the matter, and did not want to annoy 
me. 

" We will go gently, at a walk, to the door." 

" Yes, yes.* 

" But what a fright you have given me ! And you, were 
you frightened ? " 

" No, not at all, I assure you." 

" Oh yes, I can see it." 

" It's nothing, nothing at alL" 

And & .minute later we began conjugating the verb "to 
love" in all its tenses. He tells me everything from the 
beginning, since the first evening he saw me at the opera, 
when, seeing Rossi coming out of our box, he left his own 
to meet him. 

" You know," he said, " I have never loved any one, my 
only affection was for my mother, all the rest ! .... I never 
looked at any one in tne theatre, I never went to the Pincio. 
It's folly, all that, I laughed at those who went, and now I go 
there myself." 

"Forme?" 

" For you. I am obliged." .... 

"Obliged?" 

"Morally. No doubt I could make an impression on 
your imagination if I rehearsed a declaration in the style 
of novels ; but it's foolish ; I only think of you, I only live 
for you. Of course man is a material being, he meets a 
lot of people, and a lot of other thoughts preoccupy him. 
He eats, he talks, he thinks of other things; but I often 
think of you in the evening." 

" Perhaps at your club ? " 

" Yes, at the club. When night comes on I remain to 
dream ; I smoke, and think of you. Especially when I am 



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ROME, 1876. • 67 

alone at dusk I think and dream, and the illusion is such that 
I fancy you are there. Never, he added, have I felt anything 
like it before. I think of you, I go out to see you. The 
best proof is that as you no longer go to the opera I don't 
go either. It's chiefly when I am alone that I dream. I 

ficture to myself that you are present. I assure you that 
have never felt what I feel now, from which, I suppose, 
that it must be love. I desire to see you ; I go to the 
Pincio ; I long to see you, and get quite wild, and then 1 
picture you to myself. This is how I began to feel the 
pleasure of loving." 

" How old are you ? " 

" Three-and-twenty. I began life at seventeen. I might 
have fallen in love a hundred times, but I never did. I have 
never been like those fellows of eighteen, who make a fuss 
over a flower or a portrait, that's so stupid. If you knew, 
I sometimes think that I have so much to say and, 
and " 

" And you can't ? " 

'• No, tnat isn't it. I'm in love, and grow stupid." 

" Don't think so, you are not at all stupid." 

" You don't love me," he said, turning round. 

" I know you so little," I replied, " that it's impossible 
to telL" 

" But when you know me better," said he, gently, looking 
at me in quite a timid way (and then he lowered his voice), 
" perhaps you will love me a little ? " 

" Perhaps," I said, softly. 

It was almost night when we arrived. I got into the 
carriage. He goes to mamma, making many excuses, and 
she gives him a few recommendations about the horses for 
the next time, and we separate. 

" A u plai&ir de nans revoir / " says A to 

mamma. 

I give him my hand in silence, and he presses it, not as 
formerly. 

" I laiow all about it ! " exclaims Dina. " He said something 
to her, she checked him, he set his horse off and that's how it 
happened." 

"True, my dear, he really said a lot of things to 
me." 

" All goes well ? " asks Dina. 

" Swimmingly, my dear," I say, complacently. 
*""" I come in, undress, put on a dressing-gown and lie down 
on the sofa, tired, fascinated, bewildered. I did not take 



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68 MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

it in at first, I forgot everything for two hours, and it required 
two hours to recollect what you have just been reading. My 
joy would be complete if I auite believed him, but I have my 
doubts in spite of nis candia, charming, and even naive looks. 
That comes of being a knave at heart oneself. Moreover, it's 
Lbetter so. 

I leave my note-book ten times over, in order to lie down 
on my bed and passing it all over again in my poor head, to 
dream of it and to smile. 

Behold, good people, I am thoroughly upset, and he is no 
doubt at his club. 

I feel quite different, quite stupid. I am calm, but still 
bewildered by what he tola me. I also remember his saying 
that he was ambitious. 

Every well-born man ought to be, I replied. 

I like the way he spoke to me. No rhetoric, no affecta- 
tion, you saw that he was thinking aloud. He said some very 
pretty things to me, as for example : " You always look 
pretty," he said, " I can't think how you manage it." 

"My hair is all undone." 

" So much the better, you look even nicer so, with your 
hair loose, you are still more. . . . you are." (He stopped and 
smiled.) " You are all the more, I don't know how to express 
it. . . . more ravishing." 

I am now thinking of the time when he said, " I love you," 
and when I had replied, " It's not true." He shook himself 
in the saddle, and stooping while he allowed the reins to drop 
from his hand : " You don't believe me," he cried, trying to 
look me in the eyes, which I dropped. (Not from coquetry, 
I swear it.) Oh, he spoke the truth at that moment. I 
raised my head and caught his troubled look ; his wide-open, 
dark-brown eyes, which were trying to read my thoughts 
to the bottom of my soul. They were troubled, irritated, 
vexed, by my averted looks. I did not do it on purpose ; if I 
had looked him in the face I should have begun crying. I 
was nervous, confused, and didn't know what to do, and 
he may have thought that I was acting from coquetry. 
Yes, at least at that moment I knew that he was not 

¥ n g- 

" You love me at present," I replied, " but in a week you 

will love me no longer." 

" Oh, have pity ! I am not one of those men who pass 

their lives in flirting withyoung ladies ; I have never courted 

any one, I love no one. Tliere is a woman who is doing all in 

her power to make me fall in love with her. She has given 



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ROME, 1876. 69 

me six or seven rendezvous, I have always missed them, 
because, you see, I can't love her." 

But enough, I shall never finish if I call up all my 
memories and write them down. So many things were 
said! 

Come, come, you must go to sleep. 

Tuesday, March lUh. — I think I promised Pietro to go 
out for a ride. We meet him in walking dress and billycock ; 
the poor child was in a fiacre. 

" Why don't you ask your father to give you horses ? " 
I said. 

" I have asked, but if you only knew how close the 
A 's are." 

I was vexed to see him in a wretched fiacre. 

To-day we leave the Hdtel de Londres, we have taken a 
large and handsome appartenient on the first storey of the 
hotel on the Via Babino — ante-room, little salon, salon, 
four bed-rooms, studio, and servants' room. 

March IQth. — Pietro came about ten o'clock. The salon 
is very large and very handsome ; we have two pianos, a 
grand and a smaller one. I began softly playing one of 

Mendelssohn's " Songs without Words," and A began 

singing his ballad. The more fire and passion he put into it 
the more I laughed and the colder I got. 

I find it impossible to imagine A really in earnest. 

Whatever the beloved one may say appears adorable; 
people to whom I am quite indifferent sometimes find me 
amusing, how much more those to whom I am not so. In 
the middle of a sentence full of tenderness I said something 
irresistibly funny to him, and he began laughing. Then I 
reproached him for laughing, saying I couldn't believe a child 
who was never serious and who laughed at everything like 
mad. And I did this several times till he got exasperated. 
Then he began telling me how it had begun, since the first 
evening when the Vestalc was performed. 

" I love you so much that 1 would do anything for you," 
he said. " Tell me to shoot myself with two pistol shots, and 
I will do so." 

" And what would your mother say ? " 

"My mother would cry, and my brothers would say, 
4 Instead of being three we are now two.' " 

" It's useless, I don't want proofs of that kind." 

".But what would you like in that case ? Tell me ; would 



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70 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

you like me to jump out of the window into the fountain 
below ? " 

And he rushed to the window ; I held him back, and he 
wouldn't let go my hand. 

" No," he said, swallowing something like a tear. " I am 
calm at present, but a moment ago — heavens ! don't put me 
in such a rage again. Answer me ; say something." 

" Oh, that's mere nonsense ! " 

" Yes, I may have committed youthful follies ; but I 
don't believe I ever felt like to-day — at this very moment. 
I thought I was going out of my mind." 

" In a month I shall be going away, and it will all be 
*orgotten." 

" I will follow you everywhere." 

" They won't permit it," 

" Ana who is to prevent me ! " he exclaimed, rushing 
towards me. 

" You are too young," I said, beginning to play something 
else, and passing from Mendelssohn to a softer and deeper 
nocturne. 

"Let us get married ; we have a splendid future before us." 

" Yes, if I wished it." 

" Ah ! no doubt you wish it." 

Then he walked up and down, getting more excited. I did 
not even change colour. 

r " Well," I said, " supposing I were to get married to you, 
L and you left off loving me after two years.' 

I thought he would have choked. 

" No. What makes you think these things ?" 

And breathing hard, with tears in his eyes, he fell at my 
feet 

I drew back, reddening in my anger. O protecting piano ! 

" You must have a very good temper," he said. 

" I should think so indeed, or I would already have turned 
you out," I answered, turning away to laugh. 

Then I got up calm and contented, and went to act the 
hostess to tne other guests. 

But it was time to £0 away. 

" Is it time ? " he asked, looking at me inquiringly. 

" Yes," answered mamma. 

Having given a very short account of the interview to 
mamma and Dina, I went and shut myself ut> in my room, 
and before beginning to write, I remain an hour with my 
hands over my face, and fingers pushed through my hair, still 
trying to unravel my own feelings. 



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ROME, 1876. 71 

I think I begin to understand myself? 
'Poor Pietro, it isn't that I have no feeling for him, 
quite the contrary ; but I cannot consent to become his 
wifa* 

Tne riches, the villas, the museums of the Ruspoli, the 
Doria, the Torlonia, the Borghese, the Chiara, would crush me. 
I am, above all things, vain and ambitious, and to think one 
should love such a creature simply because he does not know 
her. If he really knew her. ... Ah ! well ! he would love 
her all the same. 

Ambition is a noble passion. 

Why the devil must it be A instead of some one 

else? 

I am always repeating the same phrase, while I change the 
name. 

Saturday, March 18th. — I have never had a moment's 

tete-A-tdte with A and it annoys me. Tlike to hear him 

say that he loves me. Since he has told me everything, 
I sit thinking, thinking, with my elbows on the table. 
Perhaps I am m love. It's chiefly when I am tired and half 
asleep that I think I am in love with Pietro. Why am I 
vain ? Why am I ambitious ? Why am I so reasonable ? 
I am incapable of sacrificing years of grandeur and satisfied 
vanity to a few moments of pleasure. 

" Yes," says the novelist, " but this moment of pleasure is 
enough to illumine a lifetime with its rays ! " 

On no. To-day I am cold, and I am in love ; to-morrow 
I shall be hot, and shall not be in love. On such changes of 
temperature does man's fate depend !j 

A says " Good evening," on going away, and takes 

my hand, which he keeps in his own, asking me ten questions 
to prolong the time. 

I told it all to mamma as soon as he was gone. I tell her 
everything. 

March 20th. — I behaved very foolishly this evening. 

I spoke in a low voice to the creature, and so gave rise to 
all kinds of suppositions which will never be justified. He 
does not amuse me when other people are present ; when we 
two are alone he speaks of love and marriage. The son of a 
priest is jealous, is even fiercely jealous — of wnom ? Of all the 
world. 

I listen to his speeches from the height of my cold 
indifference, allowing him at the same time to take hold of 



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72 MAJIIE BASHKIBTSEFF. 

my hand. I take his hand in my turn with almost a ma- 
ternal air, and if he is not yet driven out of his senses by 
his paxsion for me, as he assures me, he must see that while I 
drive him away with my words I hold him back with my 
eyes. 

And while I say that I shall never love him, I do love him 
all the same ; or, at least, I behave as if I did. I tell him all 
kinds of foolish things. Some one else — older than he — would 
be satisfied ; but he tears a napkin in pieces, breaks two 
brushes, and destroys a canvas. All these doings make it 
necessary for me to take hold of his hand and call him 
a fooL 

Then he gazes at me with a fierce, fixed kind of look, and 
his black eyes seem to lose themselves in my grey ones. I 
say to him, without a smile — " Make a face ; " then he laughs, 
and I pretend to be angry. 

" Then you don't love me ? " 

" No ! " 

" Must I give up all hope then ? " 

"Dear me, no. One must never lose hope; hope is 
implanted in man's breast ; but, as far as I am concerned, I 
won't give you any." 

And as I spoke laughingly, he went away tolerably 
satisfied. 

Friday, March 24th ; Saturday, March 25th. — A- 



arrived a quarter of an hour earlier than usual; pale, 
interesting, sad, and calm. 

Scarcely had Fortune announced him, than I armed 
myself from head to foot in cold drawing-room politeness 
calculated to madden people under the circumstances. 

I let him spend ten minutes with mamma. Poor creature ; 
he is jealous of Plowden ! . . . . How unbecoming it is to be 
in love ! 

We parted coldly from one another. 

" I had sworn never to come to you again." 

" Why did you come ? " 

" I was afraid of being rude to your mother, who is so 
kind." 

" If that is all you can go away and never come back. 
Good-bye ! " 

" No, no, no ; it is for yourself." 

" Then that is another matter." 

" Mademoiselle, I have been much in the wrong," 
said he, " I know." 



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ROME, 1876. 73 

" What wrong ? " 

"The wrong of letting you understand, of telling you 
that .... 

" That ? " 

" That I love you," added he, compressing his lip like a 
man who is trying not to weep. 

" Ta, ta, ta, that is not wropg." 

" It is a great and immense wrong, for you play with me 
as you would with a doll or a ball" 

" What an idea ! " 

"Oh, I know, I know, you are like that You 

are fond of playing. Well, then, go on playing ; it is my 
fault" 

" Let us play." 

" Then, tell me ; it was not for the sake of giving me my 
dismissal that you told me to go oft* to the theatre ? " 

"No." ' * 

" It is not to get rid of me ? " 

" Ah, Monsieur, I do not need any ruse when I want to 
get rid of any one ; I do it quite straightforwardly, as I did 
with B ." 

" Ah ! and you told me that that was not true." 

" Let us talk about something else." He leant his cheek 
against my hand. 

" You love me ? " he asked. 

" No, Monsieur ; not the least in the world." He does not 
believe a word of it. 

At that moment Dina and mamma came in, and after a 
few minutes he was obliged to go. 

Monday, March 27th. — In the evening we had some 
visitors. Among others A . 

I am at the piano again. .... "I know," said he, " the 
sort of man who would have a chance with you. One who 
has much less patience and who loves you much less. But 
you ; you do not love me ! " 

" No," I say once more. 

And our faces were so near each other that I wonder no 
spark was struck out. 

" You see ! " he exclaimed. " What is to be done 
when one only is in love ? You are as cold as snow ; and I, 
I love you ! " 

"You love me! no, Monsieur; but you may do so 
yet" 

When? 1 



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74 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" In six months." 

" Oh ! in six months from now I love you. I am 

mad, and you are laughing at me." 

"Truly, Monsieur, you are a good hand at guessing. 
Listen. Even if I did love you, it would be difficult. I am 
too young. And then there's the question of religion." 

"Oh, l know that well enough ! I should have difficulties 
too ; do you suppose I should not ? . . . . You can't under- 
stand me, because you don't love me. But, if I asked you 
to run away with me? " 

"Dreadful!" 

" Wait .... I am not proposing it. It is dreadful, I 
know, when people do not love. It would not be dreadful if 
you loved me." 

" I do not love you." 

I do not love him, and I let him say all these things to 
me. It's absurd ! 

I believe he has spoken to his father, and not received 
a favourable hearing. I can't make up my mind ; I 
have no notion what sort of conditions they would make ; 
and nothing in the world would induce me to go and 
live in a family. My own is quite enough for me. What 
would it be with strangers ! Am I not very sensible for 
my age ? " 

" I will follow you," he said the other night. 

" Come to Nice," I said to him to-day. 

He did not answer, and kept his head cast down, which 
proves to me that he has spoken to his father. 

I can't make myself out. I love and yet I don't. 

Wednesday, March 29£A. — I said that A had not yet 

trampled everything under foot for me. 

" I love you," he said to me ; "I will do anything 
for you ! " 

"The Pope will curse you, the Cardinal will curse you, 
and your father will curse you." 

"Much do I care for all those people when you are in 

?uestion ! I don't care a hang for any one. If you loved as 
do you would say the same. If your passion for me 
were like mine for you, you would not speak as you do, 
and you would see in the whole world only the one you 
love!" 

Ah ! Pietro is not an " insignificant young man ! " He is 
developing more and more; and I am beginning to feel a 
certain respect for him. 



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ROME, 1876. 75 

Tltur8day } March 30th. — To-day, alone in my room with 
the door locked, I am going to meditate on the important 
matter. 

For some days my position has been a false one, and why 
so ? Because Pietro has asked me to be his wife ; because I 
did not refuse roundly ; because he has spoken to his parents 
about it ; because his parents are not easy to lead ; and be- 
cause Visconti spoke as follows to mamma : 

"You must know, madame, where you wish to marry 
your daughter ? " began Visconti, after having praised Pietro's 
fortune and person. 

" I have no fixed idea," said mamma ; " and, besides, my 
daughter is so young ! " 

" No, madame, it is best to say things plainly. Do you 
want to marry her abroad or in Russia ? " 

"I should, prefer abroad; because I think she will be 
happier abroad, as she has been brought up there." 

" Well, then, you must also know, if all your family would 
consent to see her married to a Catholic, and to see the 
children that spring from this union brought up in the 
Catholic religion." 

" Our family would be glad to see anything which would 
secure the happiness of my daughter." 

" And what would be the relations of your family with 
the family of the husband ? " 

" Well, I think they would be on excellent terms ; the more 
so as the two families would seldom or never see each other." 

" Pierre A is a charming young man, who will be very 

rich ; but the Pope meddles in all the affairs of the A 's, 

and the Pope will make difficulties." 

" But, Monsieur, why do you say all that ? There is no 
question of marriage. I love this young man as a child, but 
not as a future son-in-law." 

This is pretty well all that my mother could remember. 

It would be very prudent to go away, the more so as 
nothing would be lost by putting it off till next winter. 

We must go away to-morrow ; and I am going to prepare 
for it — that is to say, go and see the wonders ot Rome that 
I have not yet seen. 
"Yes, but what annoys me is that the opposition comes 

not from our side, but from the A 's. That is unpleasant, 

and my pride rebels against it. 

Let us leave Rome. 

Truly it is not very pleasant that they should be making 
^difficulties about me, when it's I who object to them. 

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76 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Rome is such a gossipy place that ©very one talks about 
this ; and I am the last to notice it. That is always the 
way. 

Certainly, I am furious at the idea of their wanting to 
take Pietro away from me ; but I look further for myself, 

and aim at something higher, thank goodness! If A 

were in harmony with the programme, I should not be angry ; 
but a man whom in my mind I have rejected as unsatis- 
factory! And they to dare to say the Pope xvould not 
allow it ! * 

I am furious ; but wait a minute. 

Evening comes, and with the evening Pietro A . 

We receive him with some coldness, in consequence 
of Baron Visconti's words, and a number of suppositions ; 
for, since that speech of Visconti's we do nothing but 
suppose. 

I " To-morrow," said Pietro, after a few moments, " I am 
going away." 

"Where?" 

" To Terracina ; I shall stay there a week, I fancy. 

"They are sending him away," whispered mamma in 
Russian. 

I agreed, but what an insult! I shall weep with 

ra £ e - 

"Yes, it is disagreeable," I answered in the same 

way. 

Oh ! you wretch of a priest ! You know well enough how 
humiliating it is. 

The conversation was affected by it. Mamma is so offended, 
so angry, that her headache grows twice as bad, and she has 
to be taken to her room. Cina retires tirst. There was a 
tacit agreement to leave me alone with him that I 
might find out the truth. 

As soon as we were alone, I made a bold attack, though I 
trembled a little. 

" Why are you going ? Where are you going ? " Ah ! well, 
if you think he answered me as straightforwardly as I 
questioned him, you are mistaken. 

I asked questions, and he avoided answering them. 

" What is your motto, Mademoiselle ? " asked he. 

" Nothing before me, nothing after me, nothing beside 
me!" 

" Well, mine is the same." 
U* So much the worse." 

Then began protestations so true as to become distorted. 



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ROME, 1876. 77 

Words of love without beginning or end, bursts of anger and 
reproaches. I submitted to this storm with calmness and 
dignity. 

" I love you to distraction," he went on, " but I have no 
confidence in you. You have always made fun of me and 
laughed; cross-examining me coldly as if you were a judge. 
What do you want me to say when I see that you will never 
love me ? 

I listened stiffly, and without moving a muscle, not al- 
lowing him to touch my hand even. I wanted to understand 
clearly at any price ; 1 was too unhappy in this uncertainty 
mingled with a million suspicions. 

" But, Monsieur, you expect me to love a man whom I 
do not know, who hides everything from me ! Speak, and 
I will believe you; speak, and I promise to give you an 
answer. Listen to me, after that I promise to give you an 
answer. ,, 

" But you will laugh at me, Mademoiselle, if I tell you. 
You must understand that it is an absolute secret. If I tell 
it, I shall reveal myself entirely to you. There are things 
ot so private a nature that we cannot tell them to any- 
body." 

" Speak, I am waiting." 

" I will tell you, but you will laugh at me." 

" I swear I will not." 

After I had promised many times not to laugh and not 
to tell any one, he told me at last. 

Last year, when a soldier at Vicenza, he got into 
debt, to the amount of thirty-four thousand francs, and since 
his return home, about ten months ago, a coolness has 
arisen between him and his father, who refused to pay. 
At last, a few days ago, he made a pretence of leaving 
home, saying that he was too badly treated there. Then 
his mother came to tell him that his father would pay 
his debts on condition that he would lead a respectable life. 
" And to make a beginning, before being reconciled to your 
parents, you ought to be reconciled to God." He has not 
oeen to confession for a long while. 

In short, he is going for a week's retreat in the con- 
vent of San Giovanni e Paolo, at Monte Ccelio, near the 
Coliseum, 

I assure you I found it hard work to keep serious ; to us 
this seems comic, but it is quite natural for the Catholics in 
Rome. 

" So this is the secret." 



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78 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

I leaned against the mantelpiece and the chair, turning 
away my eyes, which were full of tears, goodness knows why. 
He leaned at my side, and we remained for some seconds 
without speaking or looking at one another. We remained 
standing for an hour, talkng of what ? Of love, no doubt. 
I knew all I wanted to know, I have got it all out of 
him. 

He has not spoken to his father, but he has told his 
mother everything ; he has mentioned me. 

" At any rate, Mademoiselle," said he, " you may be sure 
that my parents have no fault to find with you ; it is only a 
matter of religion." 

" I am quite aware that they have no fault to find with 
me, for if I consented to marry you, it is you who would be 
honoured, not I." 

I am careful to appear as stern and prudish as I really am, 
and to set forth moral principles of overwhelming purity, so 
that he may tell his mother all, since he does tell her every- 
thing. 

He never spoke to me before as he did to-night. 

" I love you ; I adore you ; I am mad," he said, 
very softly and quickly. " Do you love me a little ? 
Speak!" 

" And if I love you, what good will it do ? 

"It will make us happy, surely ! " 

" I cannot make up my mmd. You know there are 
fathers and mothers." 

" Mine have no objection to make, Mademoiselle ; you 
may take my word for it. Let us be engaged." 

" Not so fast, Monsieur. What dia you say to your 
mother ? How did you speak to her ? " 

" I said to her : ' You were so very anxious that I should 
marry ; I have found some one whom I love ; I wish to marry 
and lead a respectable life.' And my mother answered that I 
ought to thinlc the matter over carefully before taking so 
serious a step, and all sorts of things." 

" That is quite natural. And have you spoken to your 
father ? " 

" No." 

" I ask that because people in the town are talking about 
it, and they have spoken to mamma, who has been very much 
vexed about it." 

No doubt my mother has spoken to him. It is past two 
o'clock, and I should never finisn writing if I were to set down 
only half. And then it is so silly, one can only write hard 



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ROME, 1876. 79 

things, soft things cannot be written, and they are the only 
things that are amusing to read. 

Sunday, at two o'clock, I shall be in front of the convent, 
and he will appear at the window and wipe his face with some 
white linen. 

Next I run to allay mamma's wounded pride, and to tell 
her everything, but laughing all the time so as not to seem in 
love. 

Enough for the moment. I am cal,m, happy ; especially 
happy in presence of my family, who had already put on a 
dejected mien. 

It is late ; I really must go to sleep. 

Friday, March 31st. — It was a splendid proof of love to tell 
me what he did ; I did not laugh. He begged me to give 
him my likeness to take with him to the convent. 
" Never, Monsieur. What a temptation ! " 
" I shall think of you all the same the whole time." 
How absurd that week at the convent seems ! What 
would his friends at the Caccia Club say if they knew of it ? 

I shall never tell any one ; Marie and Dina don't count, 
they will be as silent as I am. Pietro in a convent, that will 
be a joke ! What if he has invented it all ? What a terrible 
character to have ! I have no faith in any one. 

Poor Pietro in a monk's frock, shut up in a cell, four 
sermons a day, a mass, vesper, matins ; I cannot get used to 
believing anything so ridiculous. 

God, do not punish a vain creature ! I swear that I 
am honest at heart, incapable of cowardice or baseness. I am 
ambitious — that is my misfortune ! 

The beauty and the ruins of Rome intoxicate me ; I want 
to be Caesar, Augustus, Marcus Aurelius, Caracalla, the devil, 
the Pope ! 

1 want — and I am nothing. 

But I am always the same ; you may convince yourself 
of it by reading my Journal. The details and the shades 
change, but the main lines are always the same. 

A nice thing to be shut up in a convent ! He must be 
very dull, poor fellow ! I was burning to tell my family about 
this ; I am unworthy of confidence, but I could not do other- 
wise. Mamma was furious. 

" What," said she, " they threaten to refuse us, when we do 
not want them ? They dare to think it would be such a piece 
of good fortune for us ! How insulting 1 " 
H 



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80 MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

She was auite right, was my mother. Well, I had to 
soothe her ana re-establish myself in her eyes. 

Indidgentia plenaria perpetita pro vivis et defunct is. 
Amen. 

Ajrril 3rd. — It is spring now ; they say that all women 
grow more beautiful at this season ; that is true, if I am to 
judge by myself. .... The skin becomes liner, the eyes 
brignter, the carnation fresher. 

It is the 3rd of April ; I have another fortnight of Rome 
before me. 

How strange it is ! As long as I wore a felt hat, it was 
winter ; yesterday I put on a straw hat, and it is spring 
directly. A dress or a hat often gives this impression, just as 
a word or gesture may hasten on an event which has long 
been preparing, but which did not seem to have come into 
existence, and needed this little impulse. 

Wednesday, April 5th. — I write and speak about all the 
people who make love to me. An absurd thing to do ; caused 
oy sheer want of occupation. I paint and read, but that's 
not enough. 

A vain creature like me must stick to painting, for that is 
imperishable work. 

I shall not be a poet, a philosopher, or a savant e. I can 
only be a singer or a painter. 

That's something at least. And then I want to be in the 
fashion ; that is the chief thing. 

Do not shake your heads at me, stern judges; do not 
criticise me with affected indifference. Be more just, and 
remember that you are the same at heart. You are careful 
not to show it ; but that does not prevent you from knowing 
in your inmost heart that I am speaking the truth. 

Vanity ! Vanity ! Vanity ! 

The beginning and end of eyerything, and the sole and 
eternal cause of everything. 

Whatever does not spring from vanity springs from our 
passions. Passion and vanity are the sole masters of the 
world. 

Thursday, April 6th. — I have come to my Journal, 
begging it to comfort my empty, sad, foiled, envious, unhappy 
heart. 

Yes ; I, with all my impulses, all my immense desires 
and my fever of life, I am always and everywhere stopped 



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ROME, 1876. 81 

like a horse by the bit. It foams, rages and rears, but it is 
stopped all the same. 

Friday, April 7th. — I am wretched. How true is that 
Russian expression — " To have a cat in one's heart." It is 
true there is a cat in my heart It is always inexpressibly 
difficult for me to believe that a man whom 1 like snould be 
capable of not loving me. 

Pietro has not come. It is only this evening he leaves the 
convent. I have seen his clerical and hypocritical brother 

Paul A . He is a creature to be stamped on — a little, 

black, yellow, .base, hypocritical Jesuit ! 

If the story of the convent is true, he must know it, 
and how he must laugh at it with his little mysterious 
manner ; how he must tell it to his friends ! Peter and Paul 
cannot endure one another. 

Sunday, April 9th. — I have been to confession, and taken 
the Communion with fervent faith, my heart full of emotion, 
and my soul in a fitting state. Mamma and Dina went too • 
then we attended mass. I listened to every word, and I 
prayed. 

Is it not maddening to be subjected to a power that is 
unknown and incontestable ? I speak of the power that has 
carried off* Pietro. What is there impossible to the Cardinal, 
when it is a question of giving orders to the ecclesiastics ? 
The power of the priests is immense, it is impossible to 
penetrate their mysterious machinations. 

It fills one witn wonder, fear, and admiration. One need 
only read the history of nations to see their hand in every 
event. Their sight is so far-reaching that it is lost in space 
for less accustomed eyes. 

Since the beginning of the world, in every country, the 
supreme power has belonged to them, openly or secretly. 

No, listen ; it would be too much if, all of a sudden, in 
that way they were to take away Pietro from us for ever ! It 
is impossible that he should not return to Rome, he had 
promised so faithfully to come ! 

Does he make no attempt to return ? Does he not smash 
everything ? Doesn't he cry out ? 

I have been to confession ; I have received absolution and 
I swear and rage. 

Man needs a certain allowance of sin, just as much as he 
needs a certain allowance of air for living. 
H 2 



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82 MARIE BASHKIRT8EFF. 

Why do men remain attached to the earth ? Why does 
the weight of their conscience fasten them to it ? Ii their 
conscience were pure they would be too light, and would fly 
up to Heaven like fire balloons. 

A strange theory that ! Never mind. 

And Pietro does not come back. 

But since I do not love him ! I want to be sensible and 
calm, and I cannot. 

It is the Pope's blessing and portrait that have brought 
me ill-luck. 

He is said to bring ill-luck. 

There is a sort of strange whistling in my chest ; my nails 
are red ; and I cough. 

There's nothing more horrible than to be unable to pray ; 
prayer is the only consolation of those who cannot act. 1 
pray, but I do not believe. It is abominable. It is not 
my fault. 

Monday, April 10th. — They have shut him up for ever. 
No, they have shut him up for the time of my stay at 
Rome. 

To-morrow I shall go to Naples, they can't foresee this 
trick. And, once he is free, he will go in search of 
me. 

It is not that which I am anxious about, but the present 
uncertainty, this unforeseen, unexpected blow. 

I walk about my room uttering low groans, like a 
wounded wolf. 

I still have the branch of ivy he gave me at the Capitol. 
What misery ! 

I really do not know what is the matter with me ; no 
doubt it is absurd, but so it is. 

Besides, it is silly to grow angry, to pray, to weep. Is 
it always so in everything? I ought to be accustomed 
to it, and no longer weary Heaven by my useless lamen- 
tations. 

I know not what to make of him. Is he a worth- 
less fellow, a coward, or only a child who is tyrannised 
over ? 

I am extremely calm, but sad. You have only to look 
at things from a certain point of view, says mamma, to find 
that nothing in this world is worth troubling about. 

I am quite of one mind with my mother, but to agree 
with her more completely, I must know for certain. All 
I know is that it is an odd adventure, 



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ROME, 1876. 83 

Wednesday, April 12th. — During the whole of this night 1 
have been seeing him in my dreams. He was assuring me 
that he had really been at the convent. 

We are packing and starting for Naples this evening. 
I hate going ! 

When shall I have the happiness of living in my own 
home, always in the same town, and always seeing the same 
society, and travelling now and then for change ? 

Rome is the place where I should choose to live, love, 
and die. 

No, I will tell you — I should like to live where I was 
happy, love everywhere, and die nowhere. 

Yet, I like Italian, or rather Roman, life well enough , 
it still retains a slight tinge of antique magnificence. 

People often have false impressions of Italy and the 
Italians. 

They imagine them poor, designing, in a state of decline. 
It is quite the contrary. You seldom find such wealthy 
families and such luxuriously appointed houses in other 
countries. Of course, I am speaking of the aristocracy. 

Under the Pope, Rome was a city by itself, and in its 
way sovereign of the world. Then every Roman prince was 
like a petty king, had his court and his clients as in 
ancient times. From this rigvme springs the grandeur of 
the Roman families. Truly, in two generations, tnere will be 
neither grandeur nor riches, for Rome is subject to royal 
laws, ana will become just like Naples, Milan, and the otner 
cities of Italy. 

Great fortunes will be split up ; museums and galleries 
bought by the Government; and the princes of Rome 
transformed into a number of petty people, covered with a 
great name as with an old theatrical cloak to hide their needs. 
And when these great names, so much respected formerly, 
shall be dragged in the mud ; when the king shall determine 
to be great alone, after trampling all the nobility under his 
feet, he will see clearly enough in one moment what a country 
is where there is nothing between the people and its king. 

Just look at France ! 

But look at England : there is liberty, there is happiness. 
You will say, " But there is so much misery in England." 
Still, on the whole, the English people are the happiest. I 
do not speak of its commercial prosperity, but only of its 
inner life. 

Let him who desires a Republic in his country begin by 
having one in his own house! 



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84 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFh'. 

Enough discussion of matters of which I have but 
a very slight comprehension and a merely personal 
opinion. 

What will Pietro say when he comes back to Rome and 
does not find me there ? He will howl with rage. So much 
the worse ; it is not my fault. 

Naples, Thursday, April 13th. — See Naples and then die. 
I desire neither the one nor the other. 

It is seven o'clock. It is as fine as at Nice. I see splendid 
carriages passing my window, such as there are but few of at 
Rome. 

Naples is famous for the splendour of its horses and 
carriages. 

Did he go of his own accord, or did they make him go ? 
That is the question. 

I am writing in front of a large looking-glass. I look like 
Beatrice Cenci : it is pretty, a white dress, and my hair let 
down ! I do it now in the Pompeian style, as Pietro used 
to say. 

Oh ! how I should like one of Dumas' novels ! That 
would save me from writing nonsense, and what is more, from 
reading it afterwards. 

I have locked myself in, and wept several times ; it is just 
the same as at Rome. Oh, how I hate change ! how wretched 
I am in a new town ! 

They have commanded, he has obeyed, and to do so he 
must have loved me but little. 

He did not obey when it was a question of military service. 
Enough, enough ; for shame ! 

The misery, fie, the meanness ! I can no longer suffer my 
thoughts to dwell on such a man. If I complaiv, it is for 
my nnhuppy fate, my po<rr life hardly begun, during which 
I have had nothing but disajrpointments ! 

I have sinned, no doubt, like all mankind, perhaps even 
more than others ; but still there is some good in me, and it 
is unjust to humiliate me in everything. 

I placed myself in the middle of the room, folding 
my hands, and raising my eves, and something tells me 
that prayer is useless, I shall have whatever is in store for 
me. 

Not one sorrow the less, not one grief the more, as 
Monseigneur de Falloux says. 

There's only one thing to be done: to be resigned. I 
know well enough that it is difficult, good God, but else where 



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NAPLES, 1876. 85 

would be the merit ? . . . Yet, fool that I am, I believe 
that the bursts of a frantic faith and of ardent prayers can do 
something ! 

God requires a German resignation, and I am incapable 
of it. 

Does He believe that those who thus resign themselves 
have to overcome themselves ? 

Oh dear no ! They resign themselves because they have 
water in their veins instead of blood, because it gives them 
less trouble. 

Is it a virtue to be calm when this calmness is in one's 
nature ? If I could be resigned, I should obtain everything, 
for it would be sublime. But I cannot. It is no longer a 
difficulty, it is an impossibility. In moments of callousness 
I shall be resigned, not by my own free will, but because I 
shall be resigned. 

O God, take pity on me, give me calmness ! Fashion me 
a soul I can cleave to. I am weary, very weary. No, no, I 
am not weary of storms, but of disappointments ! 

April 13th. — I have opened the window to air my room, 
which was full of smoke. For the first time for three long 
months I have seen a clear sky and the sea through the 
trees, the sea illumined by the night. I am so delighted that 
I am going to write. Ah ! how beautiful it is after the 
black, narrow streets of Rome ! A night so calm, so beautiful! 
Ah ! if he were here ! 

If you fancy that is love ! 

It is impossible to sleep when it is so beautifuL Timid, 
weak, unworthy ! unworthy of the least of my thoughts ! 

Easter Sunday, April 16th. — Naples does not please me. 
At Rome the houses are black and dirty, but they are palaces 
as regards architecture and antiquity. At Naples there is 

^ , ust as much dirt, and you see only cardboard houses in the 
French style. 

There, how angry all the French people would be. Let 
them be calm. I admire and love them more than any other 
nation, but I must confess that their palaces will never attain 
the massive, splendid, and graceful majesty of the Italian 
palaces, especially those at Rome and Florence. 

Tuesday, April 18th. — At midday we set out for Pompeii. 
We drove there, as the road is a nne one, and gives views 
of Vesuvius and the towns of Castellainare and Sorrento. 



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86 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

The excavations are splendidly managed. It is a strange 
thing to traverse the streets of this dead city. 

We had taken a sedan chair, and mainnia and I rested 
in it in turns. 

The skeletons are frightful ; the unfortunate wretches 
are in the most cruel attitudes. I looked at the remains 
of the houses and the frescoes, and tried to fill them 
up in my imagination, and re-people those houses and 
streets. 

What a terrible force is that which could swallow up a 
whole city ! 

T heard mamma talking marriage. 

" The wife is bound to suffer/ said she, " even with the 
best of husbands." 

"The wife before marriage," say I, "is Pompeii before 
the eruption; and the wife after marriage is Pompeii after 
the eruption." 

tEerhaps I am right ! 

I am very tired, worried, vexed. We did not get back 
till eight o'clock. 

Wednesday, April 19th. — This is the disadvantage of my 
positioa Pietro, without me, has his club, his friends, 
and the world — everything, in short, except me; while, as 
for me, without Pietro I have nothing. I am only an object 
of luxury for him. He was everything to me. He made me 
forget my anxiety to play a part in the world ; and I did not 
think of it, being only occupied with him — too glad to 
escape from my thoughts. 

Whatever becomes of me, I bequeath my Journal to the 
public. 

All the books we read are inventions — the situations are 
forced, the characters false ; while this is the photograph of 
a whole life. " Ah ! " you will say, " this photograph is tedious, 
while the inventions are amusing." If you say that, you will 
give me a very poor idea of your intelligence. 

I offer you that which has never yet been seen. All the 
memoirs, all the journals, all the letters that are published, 
are only inventions intended to deceive the world. 

I have no interest in deceiving it. I have no political 
action to conceal, nor criminal relation to hide. i^o one 
cares whether I love or do not love — whether I cry or laugh. 
My chief anxiety is to express myself as accurately as 
possible. I have no illusions about my style or my ortho- 
graphy. I write letters without mistakes ; but amid this 



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NAPLES, 1876. 87 

ocean of words, no doubt I let a good many slip in. Besides, 
I make mistakes in my French. I am a foreigner ; but ask 
me to express myself in my own language, I should probably 
do it still worse. 

But it was not to say all this that I opened my Journal. 
It is to say that it is not yet midday ; that I am more than 
ever abandoned to my tormenting thoughts ; that there is a 
pressure on my heart ; and I should like to howl. However, 
that is my natural state. 

The sky is grey, the Chiaja is only crossed by cabs and dirty 
foot-passengers; the stupid trees planted on each side shut 
out the view of the sea. At Nice, on the Promenade dts 
AtigUii*, there are the villas on one side, and on the other 
the sea, which comes and breaks on the shingle without 
obstruction. Here there are the houses on one side, on 
the other a sort of garden extending as far as the road which 
separates it from tne sea, from wnich it is itself separated 
by a tolerably large extent of waste land, covered with 
stones and buildings % and presenting a spectacle of genuine 
desolation. 

When you get to the square at the end of the Chiaja, 
which is planted with pretty shrubs, you feel much better, 
and this place is pretty. Farther on you get to the quay ; 
on the left hand are the houses, on the right the sea ; but 
the sea is stopped by a wall with balustrades, and lined 
by sellers of oysters and shells; then come the railings 
of the harbour, the various erections belonging to the service 
of boats, the harbour itself ; but that is no longer the sea ; it 
is a dirty place encumbered by a mass of hideousness. 

Dull weather always makes me a little sad ; but here, 
to-day, it oppresses me. 

Tnis deathly silence in our hotel, the worrying noise of 
cabs and carts with bells outside, this grey sky, this wind 
shaking the curtains! Ah! I am very wretched; and it is 
not the fault of the sky, or the sea, but of the earth ! 

Friday, April 2\st. — When I went into the drawing- 
room this morninff I was stifled by the smell of flowers. The 
room is literally full of them. They are flowers from Doenhoff, 
Altamura, and Torlonia. Doenhoff has sent a table of flowers. 
The table of flowers has taken the place of the stand ; but 
it is not that of which I wanted to speak. 

Listen to this then : Since the soul exists — since it is the 
soul which animates the body ; since it is this vaporous 
substance alone which feels, loves, hates, desires ; since, in 



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88 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

short, it is through the soul that we live — how is it that a 
rent of any sort in this vile body, or some internal disorder — 
excess in wine or food — how is it that these things can make 
the soul take flight ? 

I make a wheel turn ; and I do not stop it till such is 
my will This stupid wheel cannot stop my hand. Just so 
the soul, which sets the members of the body in motion, 
considering that it is the thinking essence, ought not to be 
expelled by a hole in the head or the indigestion caused by 
a lobster ! It ought not to be, and yet it is. Whence one 
must conclude that the soul is a mere invention. And this 
conclusion overthrows one after another all our most inti- 
mate and cherished beliefs, like the falling scenery when a 
theatre is on fire. 

Rome, Monday , April 24>th. — I had something to tell 
all day ; but I can no longer remember anything. 1 only 

know that, on the Corso, we met A ; he ran up to the 

carriage, quite radiant and joyous, aijd asked whether we 
should be at home this evening. We should be at home. 
Alas! 

He came, and I went to the drawing-room, and began to 
talk quite naturally like the others. He told me that he had 
been at the convent four days, and afterwards in the country. 
At present he is at peace with all his relations, he intends to 
;o into society, to be prudent, and think of the future. Finally, 
_ie told me that I had enjoyed myself at Naples, that I had 
been a coquette, as I always was, that this proved quite 
plainly that I did not love him. He told me also that 
ne had seen me the other Sunday near the convent San 
Giovanni e Paolo. And to prove that he was speaking 
the truth, he told me how I was dressed and everything 1 
did, and I must confess that he was right. 

" You love me ? " he asked at length. 

" And you ? " 

"Ah, that is your way, you always make fun of 
me!" 

" And if I were to say yes ! . . ." 

He is quite changed. You would say that in twenty days 
he has become a man of thirty. He talks quite differently, 
and has grown so sensible that it's a perfect miracle. He 
seems to be half a Jesuit. 

" You know that now I practise hypocrisy, I bow to my 
father, I always say yes to him ; I am prudent, and think of 
my future." 



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ROME, 1876. 89 

To-morrow perhaps I shall be able to tell something, but 
this evening I am so stupid that it's ridiculous. 

Tuesday, April 25th. — " I will come to-morrow," he 
said, as if to quiet me, and we will talk seriously about all 
this." 

" It is useless, Monsieur. I see well enough what to think 
of your fine love. You need not come back any more," I 
adaed, more feebly. " You have vexed me, I bid you good-bye 
in anger, and I shall not sleep all night. And you can boast 
that you have put me in a passion ; go ! . . . " 

" But, Mademoiselle, how strange you are ! I will speak to 
you to-morrow when you are calmer. 

It is he who complains, it is he who says that I have 
always refused him, that I have always laughed, that I do 
not love him. I should not have spoken differently in his 
place, but all the same I think him rather haughty and 
collected for a man who really loves. 

At present I have had enough of it, and I shall not speak 
another word on the matter. 

If he wishes it let him be the first to begin. 

It seems to me that he no longer loves me. Well and good, 
there is something to rouse me, to make my blood boil, and 
my back feel cold. 

I much prefer that, oh yes, at any rate I am furious ! 
furious ! furious ! 

The rain continues, and Baron Visconti is announced — that 
charming man is witty in spite of his age. Suddenly they 
began to talk about Pietro in the midst of a conversation 
about the Odescalchi marriage. 

"Oh, Madame, little A as you call him, is not a 

match to be despised, for that poor Cardinal is getting worse 
from day to day, so that one of these days his nephews 
will be millionaires, and in consequence Pierre will be a 
millionaire." 

" You know, Baron, I have been told that the little fellow 
has gone into a convent," said mamma. 

" Oh no, he has something very different in his mind, I 
assure you." 

Then we talked about Rome : I said how much I loved it, 
and what it cost me to leave it. 

•' Well then, stay here." 

" I should like to very much." 

" I am glad to see that your heart loves our city." 

" Talking of hearts, have you seen mine ? Look here. . . " 



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90 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

I showed hi in the silver heart : a man's heart. 

" You know," I added, " I am to be left behind in Rome, 
in a convent." 

" Oh ! " said Visconti, " I hope you will stay there in some 
other way, we shall find the means, and I shall find it," said 
he, pressing my hand warmly. 

Mamma is radiant, I am radiant, there is a universal 
Aurora Borealis. 

This evening, contrary to all expectation, there is a toler- 
ably large gathering, among others A . 

The company at one table, and I with Pietro at another, 
and we discussed love in general, and Pietro's love in par- 
ticular. He has deplorable principles ; or, rather, he is so 
mad that he has none at alL He spoke so lightly of his love 
for me that I knew not what to think. Altogether he is so 
like me in character that it is extraordinary. 

I know not what was said, but at the end of five minutes 
we were no longer quarrelling. We had had an explanation 
and had agreed to be married — at any rate, he had. For my 
part, I was silent most of the time. 

" You are going awav Thursday ? " 

" Yes, and jou will forget me." 

" Ah, certainly not. I shall go to Nice." 

" When ? " 

" As soon as possible. At present I cannot" 

" Why ? Tell me, tell me at once ! " 

" My father would not allow it." 

" But you have only to tell him the truth." 

" Of course I shall tell him that I am going for your sake, 
that I love you, that I want to marry, but not at once. You do 
not know my father ; I have just been forgiven, but I dare not 
ask any favour of him just yet." 

" Speak to-morrow. ' 

" I should not dare. I have not yet won his confidence. 
Only fancy, for three years he never spoke to me. In a 
month's time I shall be at Nice." 

" In a month's time I shall be there no longer." 

" And where shall vou go ? " 

" To Russia, and tnen I shall go away, and you will forget 
me." 

" But in a fortnight I shall be at Nice. . . . And then we 
will go away together. I love you ! I love you ! " he repeated, 
falling on his knees. 

" You are happy ? " I asked, clasping his head between my 
hands. 



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ROME, 1876. 91 

" Oh yes. because I believe in you ; I believe in your 
word." 

" Come to Nice at once," said I. 

" Ah ! if I could." 

" One can do whatever one wishes." 

Thursday, April 27th. — O God, thou hast been so good 
to me hitherto, ao, for pity's sake, get me out of this ! 

And God has got me out of it. 

At the station I began walking up and down with the 
Cardinalino. 

" I love you," he cried, " and shall always love you, to my 
sorrow perhaps." 

" And you see me go away, and it's all one to you ? " 

" Oh don't say so ! . . . . You shouldn't talk like that ; 
you don't know what I've suffered. Besides, I know where 
you were, and what you were doing. Since I saw you I am 
entirely changed; just look at me. But you have always 
treated, me like a scamp. If I have committed follies in my 
time, so have others ; that's no reason for thinking me a 

food-for-nothing, a hare-brained fellow. For your sake I 
ave broken with the past ; for your sake I have endured 
it all ; for your sake I have made peace with my 
family." 

"Not for me, Monsieur. I can't see what I have to do 
with this peace." 

"Ah, it was because I have been thinking of you 
seriously." 

" How so ? " 

" You always want me to explain myself in detail, with 
mathematical precision, and yet certain things are none the 
less clear for being merely hinted at ; and you always make 
fun of me." 

" That is not true." 

" Do you love me ? " 

" Yes ; and let me tell you this. I am not in the habit of 
saying the same thing twice over. I want to be believed at once. 
I have never said to any man what I am saying to you. I am 
very much offended, for my words, instead of being considered 
a favour, are taken very lightly, and commented on. And 
you dare doubt what I say ? Indeed, Monsieur, you put me 
out of patience." 

He grew confused, and begged me to excuse him ; we 
scarcely spoke after this. 

" Will you write to me ? " he asked. 



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92 MARIE BASHKIRT9EFF. 

" No, Monsieur, I cannot ; but I allow you to write to me." 

" Ah, ah ! what fine love ! " he exclaimed. 
*"""" Monsieur," I said, gravely, " do not ask too much. It is 
a very great favour when a young lady allows a man to write 
to her ; if you don't know it, I teU you so. But we shall have 
to get into the carriage ; don't let us lose our time in idle 
discussions. Will you write tome?" 

" Yes ; and, say what you like, I feel that I love you as 
I shall never love again. Do you love me ? " 

I nodded in the affirmative. 

" Will you always love me ? " 

Same action. 

" Good-bye till we meet again, Monsieur." 

"When?" 

" Next year." 

"No!" 

" Come, good-bye, Monsieur ! " 

And witnout giving him my hand I got in the railway 
carriage, where all our people were already settled. 

" You did not give me your hand," said A , coming 

near. 

I held out my hand. 

" I love you," he said, looking very white. 

" An revair ! " I said, softly. 

"Think of me sometimes," he said, getting still paler. 
" As for me I do nothing but think of you. ' 

" Yes, Monsieur ; au revoir ! " 

The train began moving, and for some minutes I could 
still see him looking at me with so much emotion that it 
appeared like indifference; then he made a few steps to the 
door but as I was still visible he stopped again like an 
automaton, pulled his hat over his eyes, made another step 
forwards .... and then, and then, we were already too far 
to see. 

I should have felt wretched at leaving Rome, to which 
I have got thoroughly used, had not an idea struck me in 
seeing the new moon towards four o'clock. 

"Do you see that crescent ? " I asked Dina. 

" Yes," she replied. 

"Well, this crescent will become a fine moon in eleven 
or twelve days." 

" No doubt." 

" Have you seen the Coliseum by moonlight ? " 

"Yes." 

" And I have not." 



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NICE, 1876. 93 

" I know." 

" But perhaps you don't know that I wish to see it ? " 

" Probably." 

" Yes, and on that account I shall go back to Rome in 
ten or twelve days, partly for the races, and partly for the 
Coliseum." 

"Oh!" 

" Yes, I shall go with my aunt ; and it will be so nice 
without you and mamma, only with aunt. We shall drive 
out in a victoria, and it will be very amusing. 

" Very well," said mamma, " it shall be so, I promise 
you ! " 

And she kissed me on both cheeks. 

Friday, April 28th. — I went to sleep and had frightful 
dreams, like nightmares. 

At eleven o'clock I lay down, so as not to see the olive 
trees and the red earth, and at one o'clock we arrived at the 
station in Nice, to the great delight of my aunt, who became 
quite excited, as did also MUe. Colignon, Sapogenikoff, 
&c. &c. 

" You know," I said, before the doors were opened, " that 
I am very sorry to come back, but I couldn't help it." 

And 1 embraced them all together. 

The house is furnished most exquisitely ; my room is 
dazzling, all decked out in pale-blue satm. Iii opening 
the door to the balcony to look at our pretty garden, 
and the Promenade, and the sea, I was prompted to say 
out loud — 

" They may say what they like, there is nothing so mag- 
nificently simple and exquisitely poetical as Nice." 

Thursday, May ±th. — The genuine season of Nice is in 
May. The beauty of it is quite maddening. I went out 
for a stroll in the garden by the light of a young moon, the 
croaking of the frogs mingling with the murmur of the waves 
as they softly broke on the pebbles. Divine silence and 
divine harmony ! 

Naples is considered a marveL I am sorry, but, for my 
part, I prefer Nice. Here the sea bathes the shore without 
any hindrance ; while it is stopped over there by a wall with 
a stupid balustrade, and even this wretched bit of seaboard is 
obstructed by shops and stalls, and other nuisances. 

" Think of me sometimes. As for me I shall do nothing 
else but think of you ! " 



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94 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

God, forgive him, for he knew not what he was saying ! 
I allow him to write, and he doesn't avail himself of this 
permission! Will he even send the promised telegram to 
mamma ? 

Friday, May 5th. — What was I saying ? Ah, yes, that 
Pietro's conduct towards me was unpardonable. 

I, who am not in love, can't understand these hesita- 
tions ! 

1 have read in novels that men will often appear forgetful 
and indifferent, owing to the strength of their love. 

I should like to believe those novels. 

I feel sleepy and bored, and in this state would like to see 
Pietro, and make him talk of love. I should like to dream 
he was here ; I should like to have a nice dream. Reality is 
dangerous. 

I am bored, and when I am bored I grow very tender. 

Ah ! when will this state of dulness, disappointment, envy, 
and vexation, come to an end ! 

Ah ! when shall I live as I would like to ! 

When I am married to a great fortune, to a great name, 
and to a sympathetic man, for I am not as mercenary as you 
think. But if I am not it is from egoism. 

It would be horrible to live with a man one hated, and 
neither wealth nor position would avail me anything. May 
God and the Holy Virgin protect me ! 

May Qth. — You know I have an idea. I am mad to see 
Pietro again. 

This evening I give a fete, such as has not been seen for 
years, at the Kue de France. You must know there is a 
custom in celebration of May in Nice ; they hang up a garland 
and a lantern, dancing in circle and singing the while. Since 
Nice has become French this custom has been more and 
more neglected, and now you scarcely see three or four 
lanterns in the whole town. 

Well, as for me, I give them a rossigno. I call it thus 
because the Rossigno cite vola is the most popular and the 
prettiest song in Nice. 

I have had prepared beforehand a big thing, consisting 
of foliage and flowers, and suspended across the street, decor- 
ated with Venetian lamps. 

Triphon (grandpapa's servant) has been entrusted with the 
preparation of fireworks on the wall of our garden, and 
charged to light up the scene from time to time with Bengal 



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HOME, 1876. 95 

lire. Triphon is beside himself with joy. All these 
splendours are accompanied by a flute, a harp, a violin, and 
cneered with wine in abundance. Some kind neighbours 
came to ask us to come to their terrace, for Olga and I were 
looking on perched on a wooden ladder. 

We went to the neighbour's terrace, and Olga, Marie, 
Dina, and myself, went into the middle of the road, calling 
the dancers, trying and succeeding in putting spirit into the 
thing. 

1 sang and danced with everybody, to the delight of the 
good Ni<;ois, especially the people of our quarter, who all 
Know me and cannot say enough in praise of " Mademoiselle 
Marie." 

Not knowing what else to do I make myself popular, and 
it flatters mamma. She doesn't consider the expense. What 
pleased them more than anything was my singing and saying 
some words in patois. 

While I was standing on the ladder with Olga, who pulled 
me by the skirts, I felt much inclined to make a speech ! but 
I prudently refrained for this year. . . . 

I looked at the dancing, and listened to the cries in a 
dreamy way, as often happens to me. And when the fire- 
works ended in a magnificent Catherine wheel, we all returned 
home accompanied by a murmur of satisfaction. 

Stinday, May 7th. — There is a certain despairing satis- 
faction in finding a reason for despising everybody. It is 
free from illusion at least. If Pietro has forgotten he has 
cruelly insulted me, and I inscribe one more name on my 
tablets of hatred and revenge. 

I like mankind as it is, and love it and am part of it ; and 
I live with all those people, and my fortune and happiness 
depend upon them. 

All tnis is very stupid. Indeed, in this world, all 
that is not sad is stupid, and all that is not stupid is 
sad. 

At three o'clock to-morrow I am going to Rome, as much, 
for the change as to despise A , if I have the opportunity. 

Thursday, May 11th. — As I said on Tuesday evening, I 
left yesterday at two o'clock with my aunt. It's a terrible 
proof of love I seem to be giving Pietro. 

Ah, so much the worse. If he thinks I love him, if he 
thinks anything so monstrous, he is only a brute. 

At two o'clock we are in Rome. I jump into a fiacre ; 



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96 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

aunt follows me, the porter of the hotel takes our tickets, 
and .... and .... lam in Rome. Oh delight ! . . . . 

Our luggage will only arrive to-morrow. In order to see 
the return from the races we must be satisfied with our 
travelling dresses. However, I looked very well in my grey 
costume and felt hat. I take my aunt to the Corso. How 
delightful to see the Corso again after Nice ! I bewilder her 
with explanations and a lot of nonsense, for she seems to see 
nothing. 

And here is the Caeciti Club, there was a thrill of excite- 
ment as I passed ; the monk gapes open-mouthed, then takes 
off his hat, smiling from ear to ear. 

We go to the Villa Borghese, where there is an agricultural 
show ot the district. 

We walk through the exhibition, admiring the flowers and 
plants, and meet Zucchini. There are a good many people 
stilL 

They seem much surprised at seeing me appear for the 
third time. I am well known in Rome. 

Simonetti comes up. I introduce him to Madame 
Romanoff, and tell him that it is owing to a wonderful 
accident that I am here. 

I give Pietro a sign to come ; he quite beams, and looks 
at me with eyes that show he has taken everything very 
seriously. 

He made us laugh a great deal by describing his stay 
at the convent. He said he had agreed to stay for four 
days, and once he was there they detained him for seventeen 
days. 

" Why did you tell a story, why did you say you had been 
at Terracina ? " 

" Because I was ashamed to tell the truth." 

" And your friends at the club know it ? " 

" Yes. At first I said I had been at Terracina, and then 
they talked to me of the convent, and at last I told them 
everything and laughed, and everybody laughed. Torlonia 
was enraged." 

" Why ? " 

" Because I didn't tell him everything at first ; because I 
didn't confide in him." 

Afterwards he told us that to please his father he pretended 
to let a rosary fall out of his pocket as if by accident, to make 
him believe that he always carried one about with him. I 
assailed him with sarcasms and impertinent speeches, which 
he parried very well, I must say. 



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ROME, 1876. 97 

Saturday, May ISth. — I don't disguise my feelings or 
my thoughts, and I haven't the strength to bear anything 
with dignity, for I have been crying. And while I am 
writing I hear the noise my tears make in falling on the 
paper — big tears which flow unhindered and without distorting 
my features. I laid down on my back to keep them back 
but did not succeed. 

Instead of saying what makes me cry, I describe my 
way of weeping ! But how can I tell why ? I can't account 
for things. Is it possible, I cried, with my head thrown back 
on the sofa, that that's it ? He has forgotten ! No doubt, 
since he carried on an indifferent kind of conversation inter- 
spersed with words said in such a low tone that I could 
not catch them, besides he said again that he only loved 
me when I was near him, that I was made of ice, that he 
should go to America, that he is in love when he sees me, but 
forgets when I am away. 

I begged him very coldly not to speak of it again. Ah ! 
I can't write, and you will see yourself what my feelings must 
be, and how deeply I am insulted. 

I can't write, and yet something seems to force me to. As 
long as I have not told everything I feel ill at ease. 

I talked and made tea as well as I could until half-past 
ten. Then Pietro came ; Simonetti left soon afterwards, and 
we three remained. We sjwke of my Journal, that is, of the 

subjects which I treat in it, and A begged me to read 

him something on the soul and God. So I went into the ad- 
joining room and knelt down by the famous white box, look- 
ing for what I wanted, while Pietro held a candle. But as I 
found certain passages of mutual interest while turning over 
the leaves, I read them out and went on for about half an 
hour. 

Afterwards in the salon he began telling us all sorts of 
anecdotes about his life since his eighteenth year. 

I listened to all he said with a certain terror and jealousy. 

His complete dependence on others chills me ; I feel sure 
if they forbade him to love me he would obey. 

His family, these priests, these monks, frighten me. How- 
ever much he may praise their goodness, I am filled with 
horror on hearing of their wickedness and tyranny. Yes, they 
frighten me, and so do his two brothers ; but that is not the 
question, I shall be free to accept or refuse. 

Thank Heaven I can write again to-day ; I was tortured 
yesterday by not being able to express what I felt. 
I 2 



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98 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

All I heard this evening, the conclusions I am forced to 
draw, and what has happened before, seems like a weight for my 
head to carry. Then there is also the simple regret of seeing 
him go away this evening ; it's so long till to-morrow ! I felt 
a great inclination to weep from uncertainty, and perhaps 
from love. 

Then leaning my chin in my left hand, and the left elbow 
in my right hand, with frowning brows and scornful lip I 
began dreaming of it all, of what I wanted, and especially of 
what I hadn't got 

Then I began writing, but feeling irresistibly impelled to 
think, I left off for a moment ana wrote all I have just 
put down. 

Wednesday, May 17th. — I had still a great deal left 
to say of yesterday, but everything fades before this 
evening. 

He nas spoken again to me of his love ; I assured him that 
it was useless, that my parents would never consent. 

" They would be quite right," he said, immediately ; " I am 
not fit to make any one happy. I said so to my mother. I 
spoke of you, I said : ' She is so good, so religious, and as for 
me, I believe in nothing, I am a wretch/ I remained seven- 
teen days in the convent, I prayed and meditated, but I don't 
believe in God, religion does not exist for me, I believe in 
nothing." 

I looked at him with large frightened eyes. 

"You must have faith," I said, taking his hand, "ycu 
must amend and be good." 

" That's impossible, and no one can love me as I am, can 
they?" 

"H'ni! H'm!" 

" I am very unhappy. You will never have any 
idea of my position. As far as appearances go I seem 
to be on good terms with my people. I hate them all — 
my father, my brothers, my mother herself; I am most 
unhappy. And if you ask me why, I don't know. . . . Oh, 
these priests ! " he exclaimed, gnashing his teeth and 
clenching his hands, and turning his face, disfigured by 
hatred, to heaven. " The priests, on ! if you knew what they 
are like ! " 

It took him five minutes to calm down. 

" Yet I love you, and you only." 

" Give me a proof." 

" Ask one." 



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ROME, 1876. 99 

" Come to Nice." 

" You make me feel beside myself when you say so ; you 
know very well that I can't" 

" Why ? " 

" Because my father won't give me any money ; because 
my father doesn't want me to go to Nice." 

" I quite understand, but suppose you tell him why you 
wish to go ? " 

" He won't hear of it I have talked to my mother. They 
are so used to my bad habits that they won't believe me 
any more." 

"You must amend your ways; you must come to 
Nice." 

" But since I shall be refused, as you say ?" 

" I have not said that I would refuse you." 

" Ah, it would be too much," he said, looking closely at 
me, " it would be a dream." 

" But a beautiful dream, don't you think ? " 

"Oh yes!" 

" Then ask your father's leave." 

" Yes, certainly ; but he doesn't wish me to get married. 
Affairs of this kind ought to be arranged for us by our father 
confessors." 

" Well, let them do so." 

" Heavens ! and it's you who say that ? " 

" Can't you see, I don't want you, but I would like some 
satisfaction for my wounded pride." 

" I am a wretch and accursed on earth." 

It is useless, impossible, to follow these hundreds of 
phrases in detail. I shall only say that he repeated a 
nundred times that he loved me, in such a soft voice and 
with such entreaty in his eyes, that I went close to him of 
my own accord, and that we spoke like excellent friends 
of a number of things. I assured him there was a God in 
heaven and happiness on earth. I wanted him to believe 
in God, and to see Him with my eyes and pray to Him 
with my voice." 

" Then, all is over," I said, going away ; " adieu ! " 

" I love you ! " 

" And I believe you," I said, pressing his two hands, " I 
pity you ! " 

"Will you never love me ? " 

" When you are free." 

" When I am dead." 

" I can't love you at present, for I pity and despise you. 



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100 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Why, if they told you not to love me, you would obey 
them." 

" Perhaps ! " 

" How dreadful ! " 

" I love you," he said, for the hundredth time, and he 
went away crying. I went close to the table, where my 
aunt was sitting, and I said to her in Russian, " that 
the monk had paid me compliments, which I would tell 
her to-morrow." He came back again, and I bade him 
good-bye. 

" No, not good-bye." 

"Yes, yes, yes. I have loved you until we had this 
conversation. (1880. — No, I never loved him, it was 
merely the result of a romantic imagination in quest of 
excitement.) 

" Ah ! so much the worse, I loved you, I was wrong, I 
know it." 

" But ..." he began again. 

" Adieu ! " 

"Then, you are not coming for a ride to Tivoli 
to-morrow ? " 

"No." 

" And it's not because you are tired that you have given 
up the idea ? " 

" No, fatigue is only an excuse ; I don't wish to see you 
any more." 

" Oh no ! Impossible ! " said A , holding my hands. 

"Good-bye!" 

"You told me to speak to my father, and to come to 
Nice," said A , on the staircase before going. 

"Yes." 

" I will do so, let it cost what it may ; I swear it" 

And he went away. 

During the last three days I have a new idea. I fancy I 
am going to die ; I cougn and am in pain. The day 
before yesterday I sat down in the salon at two o'clock 
in the morning ; my aunt begged me to go to sleep and I 
didn't budge, saying that it was a proof I was going to die. 

" Ah ! " said my aunt, " from your manner of going on I 
don't doubt that you will die." 

" All the better for you, you won't have many expenses ; 
you won't have to pay Lafernere so much." 

And seized with a fit of coughing, I threw myself on the 
sofa, to the terror of my aunt, who ran out to make me believe 
she was angry. 



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ROME, 1876. 101 

Friday, May 19th. — My aunt has gone to the Vatican ; 
and as I can't be with rietro, I prefer remaining alone. 
He is coming about five o'clock ; I hope so much that 
my aunt won't be back. I should like to be alone with 
him as if by chance, for I must no longer appear to seek 
him. 

I have been singing, but my chest hurts me. Do you see 
that I have been posing as a martyr ? It's too silly ! . . . . 

My hair is dressed k la Venus Capitoline ; I am all in 
white like a Beatrice, with a rosary and an ivory cross round 
the neck. 

Whatever one may say, there is in man a certain need of 
idolatry, of material sensations. We must have images to look 
at, and crucifixes to kiss. 

Last evening I counted the beads of the rosary — there are 
sixty — and I prostrated myself sixty times, each time hitting 
the floor with my forehead. I was quite out of breath, but it 
seemed to me 1 had done something pleasing in the sight 
of God. No doubt it was absurd, but the intention was 
good. 

God takes count of our intentions ! 

Ah, I have got the New Testament here. Let us see. Not 
being able to find the Bible, I read Dumas. It isn*t the same 
thing. 

My aunt came back at four o'clock, and after about 
twenty-five minutes I managed to rouse her interest so 
cleverly that she has gone to Santa Maria Maggiore. It is 
half-past four. I did wrong, I ought to have despatched her 
at five o'clock, for I fear that she will again return too 
soon. 

When Count A was announced, I was still alone, 

for my aunt had the inspiration to go to see the Pantheon 
as well as Santa Maria Maggiore. My heart was beating so 
violently that I was afraid it might be heard, as they say 
in novels. 

He sat down near me, and took hold of my hand, which I 
withdrew immediately. 

He then told me that he loved me. I pushed him away, 
smiling politely. 

" My aunt will be in soon ; have patience," I said. 

" I have so much to say to you ! " 

" Really ? " 

" But your aunt will be back soon." 

" Then be quick about it." 

" They are serious matters." 



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102 MARIE BA8HKIBT8EFF. 

" Tell me." 

" To begin with, you did wrong to write all those things ot 
me." 

" Don't let us talk of that, Monsieur ; I warn you that I 
am very nervous, so you will do well either to speak in a 
straightforward manner, or to keep silent." 

"Just listen. I have spoken to my mother, and my 
mother has spoken to my father." 

" Well, what next ? " 

" I did well, did I not ? " 

" That doesn't concern me. What you have done you did 
to please yourself." 

" You don't love me?" 

" No." 

" And I love you to madness." 

" So much the worse for you," I said, smiling, and letting 
him take my hand. 

" No, listen, let us talk seriously ; you will never be serious. 
I love you ; I have spoken to my mother. ... Be my wife ! " 
said he. 

" At last ! " I said to myself; but I did not answer him. 

"Well?" he asked. 

" Well,". I replied, smiling. 

" You know," he said, reeling encouraged, " we must get 
somebody to take it up." 

" What do you mean ? " 

"Well, I can't do it myself; somebody must take the 
matter in hand, some grave and respectable person, who will 
speak to my father, and, in short, arrange everything. Who 
shall it be ? " 

" Visconti," I said, laughing. 

" Yes," said he, very seriously, " I thought of him ; he 
is the man. He is so old that he is only fit to act 
Mercury now. . . ." " Only," he went on, " I am not rich, 
not rich at alL Ah, I wish I were a hunchback and had 
millions." 

" That would not help your cause with me." 

" Oh ! oh ! oh ! " 

" I think you are insulting me," I said, getting up. 

" No, no ; my remarks did not apply to you. You are 
quite an exception." 

" Then don't speak of money to me." 

" Dear dear ! how difficult you are to please ! it is impos- 
sible to know what you want. Do, do, consent to be my 
wife ! " 



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ROME, 1876. 103 

He wanted to kiss my hand ; and I offered the cross of 
my rosary, which he kissed. Then, raising his head — 

" How religious you are ! " he said, looking at me. 

" And you ! you don't believe in anything ! " 

" I — I love you. Do you love me ? " 

" I don't speak of these things." 

" But, in Heaven's name, do make it clear to me." 

After a moment's hesitation, I gave him my hand. 

" Then you consent ? ' 

" Softly ! " I said, rising from my seat. " You know there 
are my father and my grandfather, and they will be strongly 
opposed to a Catholic marriage." 

" Oh, then there's that still ? " 

" Yes ; there is that to take into account." 

He took me by the arm, and made me sit next him 
opposite the looking-glass. We looked very beautiful 
together. 

" We will let Visconti manage matters," said A . 

" Yes." 

" He is the man. But how young we are to get married ! 
Do you think we shall be happy ? " 

" To begin with, you will want my consent." 

"Of course. But supposing you consent, shall we be 
happy?" 

" If I consent, I will take my oath that there shall 
not be a happier man on the face of the earth than your- 
seix. 

" Then we will get married. Be my wife." I smiled. 

" Ah ! " he cried, leaping about tne room ; " how haj 
I shall be ; how funny it will seem when we have chi 
ren!" 

" Monsieur, vou are going mad." 

" Yes, with love ! " 

At this moment we heard voices on the stairs. I sat 
down quickly, awaiting my aunt, who entered immediately. 

A great weight was taken from my heart. I grew lively, 
and A was enchanted. 

I was tranquil and happy ; but I have a great many 
things to say and hear still. 

With the exception of our apartment, all the rest of the 
hotel is empty. In the evening we take a candle and go 
through those immense rooms, in which the perfume of tne 
ancient grandeur of Italian palaces still seems to linger. But 
my aunt is with us. I don't know how to manage. 

We remain* over half an hour in a large yellow 



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104 MARIE BASHKIBTSEFF. 

salon, and Pietro mimics the cardinal, his father, and 
brothers. 

My aunt makes A write some nonsense in Russian. 

" Copy that," said I, taking a book and writing something 
on the ny-leaf. 

"What?" 

" Read." 

And I indicated the following eight words : — " Leave at 
midnight I will speak to you down-stairs." 

" Did you understand ? I asked, rubbing it out. 

" Yes " 

I felt easier then, and yet strangely agitated. 

A kept looking at the clock every minute, and I was 

afraid lest the reason might be guessed ; as if any one could 
possibly have guessed ! Only bad consciences have these 
terrors. 

At midnight he rose and bade me good-night, pressing my 
hand tightly. 

" Good evening, Monsieur," I said. 

Our eyes met, and I cannot describe what a simultaneous 
flash it was. 

" Well, aunt, we shall leave early to-morrow ; you had 
better go to your room, and I shall lock you in to prevent 
your disturbing me while I am writing ; then I shall go to 
bed auickly." 

"You promise ?" 

" Certainly." 

I locked my aunt's room, and, after {jiving a glance in the 
looking-glass, I went down-stairs, and Pietro slipped through 
the half-open door like a shadow. 

" So much may be said without words when we love ! As 
for me," he whispered, " I love you." 

It amused me to act a scene in a novel, and involuntarily 
I thought of Dumas. 

"We leave to-morrow. And we must talk seriously of 
things ; and I am forgetting it. . . . ." 

" Impossible to think of anything." 

" Come," I said, shutting the door so as only to leave a 
faint glimmering of light. 

And I sat down on the last step of the little staircase at 
the bottom of the passage. 

He knelt down. 

Every instant I thought I heard somebody coming. I 
remainea motionless, trembling at every drop of rain which 
beat against the panes. 



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ROME, J 876. 105 

" It's nothing," said my impatient lover. 

"You speak very much at your ease, Monsieur. If any 
one were to come, you would feel flattered and I should be 
lost." 

With my head thrown back, I looked at him through my 



" With me ? " — misunderstanding the meaning of my 
words — " with me ? I love you too much ; you are quite 
safe." 

I gave him my hand on hearing those noble words. 

" Have I not always been well-behaved and respectful ? " 

"Oh no, not always. You wanted even to kiss me 
once." 

"Don't speak of that, I beg. Oh, I have begged your 
pardon so often ! Be good ! Forgive me ! " 

" I have forgiven you," I said, gently. 

I felt so thoroughly at ease ! So that is being in 
love, I thought. Is it really serious ? I kept thinking he 
would laugh, because his manner was so very grave and 
tender. 

I dropped my eyes beneath his ; they flashed with such 
extraordinary brilliancy. 

" But we are again forgetting to speak of our affairs ; let 
us be serious and talk." 

" Yes ; let us." 

"But, first of all, what are we to do, as you are going 
away to-morrow ? Don't go away ; oh, pray don't go 
away ! " 

" It's impossible ! my aunt . . . ." 

" She is so good ; do stay ! " 

" She is good ; but she won't consent. And so, adieu ; 
perhans for ever." 

" No, no ; since you have consented to become my 
wife ! " 

"When?" 

" I shall be in Nice at the end of this month. If you 
would allow me to make my escape by getting into debt, I 
should leave to-morrow." 

" No, I don't wish it ; I could not consent to see you in 
that case." 

" But you can't prevent my going to Nice and getting into 
scrapes." 

" Yes, yes, yes ; I forbid you." 

" Then I must wait till my father gives me the money." 

" Listen ; I hope he will be reasonable;" 



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106 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" He is not opposed to it — my mother has been speaking to 
him ; but if he were not to give me any money, you know 
how dependent, how miserable I am ! " 

" Insist upon it." 

" Give me some advice — you who argue like a book, you 
who speak of the soul and God — give me some advice." 

" Pray to God," said I, offering him my cross, quite ready 
to laugh if he were to see the ridiculous side of the thing, or 
to keep my countenance if he took it seriously. 

He loolced at my impassive face, pressed the cross to his 
forehead, and dropped his head in prayer. 

" I have prayed," he said. 

" Really ? " 

" Really ! But let us continue We are agreed to 

put the matter into Baron V 's hands ? " 

" Very well." 

I said " Very well," while I thought " Provisionally." 

" But it can't be arranged immediately," I continued. 

" In two months." 

" You are laughing at me," I said, inquiringly, as if it were 
the most impossible thing in the world. 

" Then in six ? " 

"No!" 

" In a year ? " 

" Yes, m a year. You will wait ? " 

" If it must be ; with the condition of seeing you every 
day." 

" Well, come to Nice, for in a month I am going to 
Russia." 

" I shall follow you." 

" That's impossible." 

" And why ? " 

" My mother won't allow it." 

" No one can prevent my travelling." 

" Don't talk nonsense." 

" But as I love you ! " 

I bent towards him in order not to lose one of his 
words. 

" I shall always love you," he said. " Be my wife." 

We drifted mto the commonplaces of love-making — 
commonplaces which would be divine if one really loved 
always. 

" Yes, truly," he said. " How beautiful it would be to pass 
our lives together ! . . . . Yes, to pass my life with you ; 
always together, at your feet , , . , adoring you And 



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HOME, 1876. 107 

when we are both of us old, so old as to take snuff', we shall 
still love each other. Yes, yes dearest ! " 

He could find no other words, and these commonplace 
words became a tender caress in his mouth. 

He looked at me with folded hands. 

Then we talked sense; then he cast himself at my feet, 
crying, in a choked voice, that I couldn't love him as he loved 
me, it was impossible. 

He said we ought to tell each other our secrets. 

" Oh yours, Monsieur, don't interest me." 

" Oh, tell me, how many times have you been in love, 
Mademoiselle ? " 

"Once.'\ 

" And with whom." 

" With a man I didn't know, whom I have seen ten or a 
dozen times in the street, who didn't even know of my ex- 
istence. I was twelve years old then, and have never spoken 
to him." 

" This is a fable ! " 

" It's the truth." 

" But it's a romance, a phantasy ; it's impossible ; it's a 
shadow." 

" Yes but I feel that I am not ashamod of having loved 
him, and that he has grown a kind of divinity for me. I 
don't compare him to any one, for no one is worthy 
of it. 

" Where is he ? " 

" I don't even know. He is married far away." 

"What folly!" 

And my confounded Pietro looked rather incredulous and 
disdainful. 

" But it's true ; and you see I love you, and that's another 
matter." 

" I give you my whole heart, and you only give me the half 
of yours," he said. 

" Don't ask too much, and be content." 

" But that isn't all. There's something else." 

"That's all." 

" Forgive me, and suffer me not to believe you this time." 

(Oh, the depravity of it !) 

" You must believe the truth." 

"I can't." 

" So much the worse for you," I cried, vexed. 

" It's beyond me," he said. 

" Then you must be very depraved." 



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108 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

" Perhaps so." 

" You aon't believe that I have never allowed any one to 
kiss my hand ? " 

" Pardon me, but I don't believe it ? " 

" Come and sit down by my side," said I ; " let us talk, and 
tell me everything." 

He begins telling me all they have said to him, and he 
has said to them. 

" You won't be an^ry ? " he asked 

" I shall be angry if you hide something from me." 

" Well, then, you know that our famuy is a well-known 
one." 

" Yes." 

" And you are strangers in Rome." 

" What next ? " 

" Well, my mother wrote to Paris, to several persons." 

" Very naturally ; and what did they say of me ? " 

"Nothing as yet But let them say what they like, I 
shall always love you." 

" I require no indulgence. . . ." 

" Next," he said, " comes religion." 

" Yes, religion." 

" Oh," said Jie, in the calmest manner, " do turn 
Catholic!" 

I stopped him short very severely. 

" Then do you want me to change my religion ? " cried 
A . 

" No, for if you did so I should despise you." 

I should really only have been vexed on account of the 
CardinaL 

" How I love you ! how beautiful you are ! how happy we 
shall be!" 

For all reply I took his head in my hands and kissed him 
on the forehead, on the eyes, on the hair. I did it more for 
his sake than for mine. 

" Marie, Marie ! " called my aunt from above. 

" What's the matter ? " I asked, in a calm voice, passing 
my head through the trap door, so that my voice might ap- 
pear to come from my room. 

" It's two o'clock, you must go to sleep." 

" I am sleeping." 

" Are you undressed ? " 

" Yes ; do let me write." 

" Go to bed." 

" Yes, yes." 



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ROME, 1876. 109 

I came down and found the place empty ; the poor fellow 
had hidden himself under the staircase. 

" Now," said he, taking his place again, " let us speak of 
the future." 

" We will." 

" Where shall we live ? Do you like Rome ? " 

"Oh yes." 

"Then we will live in Rome, but not with my family, 
quite alone ! 

" I should think so ; in the first place, mamma would not 
hear of my living with my husband's family." 

" She is quite right. And then my family has such 
extraordinary principles ! It would make us miserable. 
We will buy a little house in the new part of the 
town." 

" I should prefer a big house." 

And I tried to hide an expressive grimace. 

" Well then, a big one." 

And we began, or at least he did, to plan future arrange- 
ments. 

He was evidently very eager to change his condition. 

" We shall go into society," I went on ; " we shall live in 
grand style, shall we not ? " 

" Oh, certainly ; tell me everything." 

" Yes, when two people are going to pass their life together, 
they ought to do so as well as possible.' 

" I quite understand. You know all about my family, but 
there's the Cardinal." 

" We must be on good terms with him." 

" I should think so indeed ; I shall try to be so. And you 
know the greater part of his fortune is to go to the one who 
first has a son ; so we must have a son as soon as possible. 
Only I am not rich." 

" What does it matter?" I said, a little hurt, but sufficiently 
mistress of myself not to make any gesture of contempt ; it 
might be a snare. 

Then, as if tired of this grave discussion, he drooped his 
head. 

" Occhi neri" I said, covering them with my hand, for 
his eyes frightened me. 

He threw himself down before me, and made such protes- 
tations, that I redoubled in watchfulness, and made him sit 
down again by mv side. 

No, it can't oe true love. If it were, there would be 
nothing mean or vulgar about it. 



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110 MARIE BA8HKIBT8EFR 

I was dissatisfied at heart 

" Be reasonable ! " 

" Yes," he said, folding his hands, " yes, I am reasonable 
and respectful ; I love you ! " 

Did I really love him, or was it an affair of the imagina- 
tion ? Who can tell exactly ? And yet, from the moment 
one doubts. . . . doubt is no longer possible. 

" Yes, I love you," I said, taking his two hands in mine 
and pressing them hard. He said nothing ; perhaps he did 
not understand what importance I attached to my words, or 
perhaps he only considered them natural 

My heart had ceased beating. It was a delicious moment, 
for he remained as motionless as I did, without uttering a 
syllable. 

But I grew frightened, and told him to go. 

" It is time." 

" Already ? Stop just another minute by my side ? How 
happy we are here ! You love me ? " he said. " Thou wilt 
always love me ? Say, thou wilt always love me ! " 

His saying, " thou," chilled me, and appeared humiliating 
to me. 

" Always ! " I said, inwardly discontented ; " always, and 
you, you, love me ? " 

" Oh ! how can you ask such a question ? Oh, my 
darling ! I wish it were impossible to leave this spot ! " 

" We should die of hunger," I said, humiliated by the 
caressing appellation, and not knowing what to answer. 

" But what a delicious death ! Then, in a year ! " said he, 
devouring me with his eyes. 

" In a year," I repeated, for the sake of saying something. 
I was acting the part of a woman in love, intoxicated, inspired, 
grave, and solemn. 

Just then I heard my aunt, who, still seeing a light in my 
room, grew very impatient. 

" You hear ? " I said. 

We embraced each other, and I ran away without looking 
back. It's like some scene in a novel I have read somewhere. 
Fie ! I am displeased with myself ! Shall I always be my 
own critic, or is it because I am not altogether in love ? 

" It is four o'clock," exclaimed my aunt. 

" No, aunt, in the first place it's only ten minutes past 
two ; and then, do leave me alone. " 

I began undressing, deep in thought all the time. If any 
one had seen me go into the drawing-room, near the stair- 
case, at midnight, and leaving it at two o'clock, past two 



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NICE, 1876. Ill 

o'clock, after an uninterrupted tite-a-tdte with one of the most 
profligate young Italians, this person would not believe the 
Almighty himself, if he should have a fancy for coming down 
from neaven in order to declare my innocence. 

Even I, supposing I were in somebody else's place, would 
not believe it, and yet you see ! Can we be sufficiently on 
our guard against trusting to appearances ? How often 
people condemn others, and form conclusive judgments when 
there is next to nothing. 

" It's dreadfiil ! You will kill yourself with sitting up so 
late ! " cried my aunt. 

"Listen," I said, unlocking her door, "don't scold or I 
won't tell you anything." 

" Oh dear, dear ! " 

" Oh, dear aunt, you will be sorry . . . ." 

" What's the matter ? Oh, what a girl ! " 

"Well then, I have not been writing; I was with 
Pietro." 

" Unhappy girl, where were you ? " 

" Down-stairs." 

"How dreadful!" 

" Oh, if you make such a row, I won't tell you anything." 

" You have been with A ? " 

" Yes ! " 

" Well," she said, in a voice that made me tremble, " I 
knew it when I was calling you a little while ago." 

" How could you ? " 

" I dreamed that mamma had come and said to me, 'Don't 
leave Marie alone with A .' " 

I felt a chill down my back as I realised that I had run 
a serious risk. I expressed my fears lest any one should 
write scandalous reports of me to Nice. 

" There's nothing to be said," replied my aunt. " People 
may venture to talk slander, but they dare not write 
them." 

Nice. — Tuesday, May 23rd. — I should like to be clear 
about one thing : am I in love or am I not ? 

I have pictured such worldly splendours and riches to 
myself, that Pietro appears in my eyes a very twopenny-half- 
penny sort of Count. Ah, H n ! 

Suppose I were to wait ! But to wait for what ? For 

a prince and millionaire, a H n ; and if nothing comes 

of it 

I try to convince myself that A is very chic, but 

J 



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112 MAMIE BASHKJRTSEFF. 

seeing him so intimately makes him appear less so than 
he is. 

This has been a sad day ! I have begun Colignon's 
portrait on a background of sky-blue draperies. It's sketched 
in, and I am very pleased with myself and with my model, 
for she sits very well. 

I know quite well that A has not yet had time to 

write to me, but am uneasy nevertheless. 

This evening I am in love with him ! Would I do well 
to accept him ? As long as there's love it will be all right, 
but afterwards ? 

I fear that mediocrity will make me hang myself with 
rage. I reason and argue as if I were mistress of the situation. 
Oh, misery of miseries ! . . . . 

" Wait ! Wait for what ?...." 

" And if nothing comes ? Bah ! with such a face as 
mine things do come, and the proof is ... . that I am 
hardly sixteen, and that I might have been a countess 
twice and a half — I say a half for Pietro." 

Wednesday, May 24tth. — This evening, as I was going 
away, I kissed mamma. 

" She kisses like Pietro/' she said, laughing. 

" Has he kissed you ? " I asked. 

" But he has kissed you ! " said Dina, laughing, fancying 
she was saying something awful, and on that account giving 
me a violent sense of remorse, almost of shame. 

" Oh, Dina ! " said I, with such a look that mamma and 
aunt turned to her with an expression of reproach and 
displeasure. 

*""" " Marie kissed by a man ! Marie, the proud, the severe, 
the haughty ! What an idea ! Marie, who nas made so many 
fine speeches on the subject ! " 

This "made me feel inwardly ashamed. Why, indeed, have 
I been untrue to my principles ? I won't admit that I gave 
way to any weakness, any momentary impulse. If I were to 
admit it I should no longer esteem myself! I can't say that 
it was from love. 

To pass for unapproachable is enough. They are so 
accustomed to it in me that they woula refuse to believe 
their own eyes ; and I myself have so often held forth on 
the rigidity of my views, that I would hardly believe it my- 
self were it not for this Journal 

In the first place, we should never allow any man to 
make advance* to us without being certain of his love ; for 



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NICE, 1876. 113 

in that case he will not accuse us : whereas, with people who 
are only flirting, we ought to be armed at all points, like a 
porcupine. Let us be frivolous with a grave, loving man, 
but severe with a frivolous one. 

Ah ! how pleased I am to have written exactly what 
I think ! 

Friday, May 26th. — My aunt says that A is only a 

child. 

" That's true," says mamma. 

And these remarks show me that I have soiled myself 
for nothing ; for, after all, I have soiled myself without love 
and without an object How vexing ! 

After he had left me in Rome, I looked at myself in the 
glass, fancying that my lips had changed colour. No one 
is as sensitive as I am ! Since my face has been soiled, I 
feel as dirty as after travelling twenty-four hours in the 
train. 

A will be able to say that I loved him, and that I 

was very unhappy at the marriage coming to nothing. 

The failure of a project of marriage is always a stain 
on a young girl's reputation. 

All the world will say that we loved each other. But 
nobody will say that I refused him. We are neither suffi- 
ciently popular nor sufficiently powerful for that. 

Appearances, besides, will justify those who say so. It's 
maddening ! . . . . 

If V had not said those few words I would never have 

gone so far " Oh, young lady ! you are still so very 

young !".... In fact, to appease my vanity, I needed to 
hear all those proposals of marriage. Observe that I did not 
commit myself to any positive promise ; but, as I let him 
speak, and allowed the young rascal to take my hands and 
kiss them, he did not notice my tone ; and, in his happiness 
and excitement, had no suspicions at all. 

I knew quite well that ne was in earnest ; but I did not 
anticipate, though I did in a way, that his family and all 
these people would make such a fiiss. I did not expect it, 
because I was not in earnest. 

I must tell you that the man is a sack filled with self- 
love and covered with vanity. There's one thing gives me 
some comfort: before the great explanation he was always 
saying that he suffered a great deal, that I made him very 
unhappy with my coquetries and my heart of ice. 

That's some consolation, but not enough. Indeed, I 
J 2 



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114 MABIE BASHKIBTSEFF. 

must admit, by way of softening my complaints, that his 
complaints and his torments appear very insignificant to 
me, because it isn't I who have experienced them. 

They say that the most poetic woman is the blonde ; but 
I assert, on the contrary, that she is the material woman 
par excellence. 

Look at that golden hair, those blood-red lips, those dark- 
grey eyes, that rosy body, which Titian paints so admir- 
ably, and tell me what thoughts they suggest to your mind ! 
And for that matter, the pagan Venus and the Christian 
Magdalen are both fair. AVnereas the dark woman, who is 
a paradox of nature, like a fair man — the dark woman, 
with her velvet eyes and ivory cheeks, may remain pure and 
divine. 

There is a beautiful picture by Titian at the Borghese 
Palace, called Pure Love and Impure Love. Pure love is 
depicted as a beautiful woman with rosy cheeks and black 
hair, tenderly looking at her child which she is bathing in a 
tank. 

Impure love is a fair, possibly red-haired woman, leaning 
against I know not what, with her arms crossed above her 
head. And in short the normal woman is fair and the 
normal man dark. 

Varieties of an opposite type may sometimes be admirable, 
but they are phenomenal. 

I shall never see anything comparable to the Duke of 

H ; he is tall, strong, with reddish hair tinged with 

gold, a moustache of the same colour, small eyes of a 
piercing grey, and a lip modelled on that of the Apollo 
JBelvidere. 

And his whole person has something so grand, majestic, 
nay, insolent even, in his indifference to others. 

Perhaps I considered him with the eyes of a person in 
love But I don't think so. 

How is it possible to be in love with a vain, brown, ugly 
fellow, having fine eyes, indeed, but still timid in his walk 
and without any style whatever, after a man like the duke, 
even three years later ? And remember that three years, 
from thirteen to sixteen, are like three centuries in a girl's 
life. 

Therefore I love no one but the duke ! He, it is true, 
won't be proud of it, and won't care. I often invent stories 
and picture known and unknown men to myself. Even to 
an emperor I don't say " I love you," with genuine convic- 
tion. There are some to whom I can't say it at all ! ... . 



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NIOE, 1876. 115 

Stop there ! For I have said it in reality Dear 

me, yes; but so little did I think it that it isn't worth 
speaking of. 

Sunday, May 28th. — On coming in from our walk I went 
to my room and sat at the window. It's odd that nothing 
seems changed ; it seems as if we were back in last year. The 
songs of Nice have never seemed so charming before ; the 
croaking of the frogs, the murmur of a fountain, a sound of 
singing in the distance, are desecrated by the noise of a 
prosaic carriage. 

I am reading Horace and Tibullus. The latter only speaks 
of love, and that suits me. And I have the French text 
opposite the Latin to give me practice. If only all this talk 
or marriage, which I have thoughtlessly set going, won't 
injure me. I fear it 

I ought not to have promised A anything. I ought 

to have answered him — 

" I thank you, Monsieur, for the honour you do me ; but I 
can promise you nothing before consulting my parents. Let 
your family confer with mine and we shall see. As for me," 
I might have said to soften my reply, " I would have no 
objection to you." 

This answer, accompanied by one of my sweet smiles, with 
my hand given him to kiss, would have sufficed. 

And I should not have been compromised, and there would 
have been no gossip in Rome, and all would have been 
well 

I think of clever things, but always too late, I should 
have done better, no doubt, to have made a fine speech like 
the one you have just read, but I should have economised 
so much pleasure, and besides .... life is so short ! . . . . 
and besides, there is always a — besides ! 

I did wrong in not making the above answer, but I was 
really so much moved ; sensible people will say, certainly ; 
and sentimental ones, no. 

Wednesday, May 3\st. — Has it not been said that les 
beaxtx esprits se rencontrent ? Just now I am reading La 
Rochefoucauld, and I find many things in him which are 
written here. And I, who prided myself on having said some 
really new things, and they are things that have been known 
already and said long ago. .... Then I read Horace, La 
Bruyfcre, and some other author besides. 

I am nervous about my eyes. I have been obliged to 



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116 MAUIE basiikihtsefr 

stop several times during my painting. I use them too much, 
for I spend all my time in painting, reading, and writing. 

I have spent this evenmg in going over my abstracts of 
the classics, as it gave me something to do, and then I 
discovered a very interesting work on Confucius, in a Latin 
and French translation. I here's nothing like having one's 
mind occupied ; work overcomes everything, especially brain 
work. 

r " I can't understand how women can pass their time in 
knitting and embroidering, keeping their hands occupied and 

their heads idle You must have a world of useless, even 

dangerous thoughts, and if there is anything on the mind 
the heart begins brooding over it, with lamentable results, 
may-be. 

If I were calm and happy I think I could do needlework 
Lin order to think of my happiness. 

No, in that case I should like to think of it with my eyes 
shut, and should be incapable of doing anything. 

Go and ask any of my acquaintances what they think 
of me, and they will tell you that they know no girl as 
gay, light-hearted, determined, and happy as I am ; for it 
gives one much satisfaction to appear proud and radiant, 
aloof in all ways ; and I willingly engage in some closely- 
contested argument either grave or gay. 

In these pages you see my inner self. 

But outwardly I am quite another person. 

You would say I had never known an annoyance, that I 
am used to be obeyed by men and things. 

Saturday, Jane 3rd. — Just now on coming out of my 
dressing-room I had a superstitious terror. 

I saw a woman in a long white gown at my side with a 
light in her hand, and looking plaintively before her, with 
her head a little on one side, like a phantom in some German 
legend. Don't be alarmed, it was only my reflection in the 
glass. 

Oh, I fear, I fear that some bodily ill will be the out- 
come of all these moral tortures ! 

Why does everything turn against me ? 

O God forgive me for weeping ! There are people more 
miserable than myself — there are people in want of bread, 
whereas for me I sleep in a bed covered with lace ; there 
are people who bruise their feet in walking over the stones 
of the road, whereas for me, I walk on the softest carpets ; 
people who have only the sky for a covering, whereas for me 



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NICE, 1876. 117 

I have above my head a canopy of blue satin. God, 
perhaps thou art punishing me for these tears I shed ; then 
why not stop my weeping ? 

Besides all I have suffered already, I now feel personally 
ashamed, ashamed in my souL 

" Count A has asked her hand in marriage, but he 

met with opposition, and has now altered his mind and with- 
drawn his offer." 

This is the way good impulses are rewarded. 

Oh, if you knew what a sensation of despair takes hold 
of me, what an infinite sadness when I look round me ! What 
ever I touch perishes and disappears. 

And my fancy continually conjures up the picture afresh, 

and I fancy I near them saying, " Count A wished to 

marry her," etc. etc. 

Sunday, June 4>th. — After Jesus had cured the lunatic 
His disciples asked Him, why those who had tried to cure 
him had not succeeded ; and Jesus answered them, " It is 
because of your want of faith, for verily I tell you that if you 
only had as much faith as a grain of mustard seed you 
would say to yonder mountain, ' Remove thyself from yonder 
place to this/ and the mountain would be removed, and 
nothing would be impossible to you." 

On reading these words I felt suddenly enlightened, and 
perhaps for the first time I believed in God. I rose quite 
carried out of myself. I clasped my hands, I raised my eyes 
to heaven, I smiled, I was in ecstasy. 

I will never, never doubt again, not in order that I may 
set something, but because I have been convinced, because I 
believe. 

Until my twelfth year they spoilt me, they did whatever I 
pleased, but no one ever dreamed of educating me. When I 
was twelve I wished for masters to teach me ; they gave 
them me, and I drew up a plan of study. I owe everything to 
myself. ... 

After this fit of enthusiasm I was afraid of exaggerating 
my feelings, afraid of the convent. 

Oh no, I was transformed, I was joyous ; I slept soundly, 
I woke up feeling calmer. 

Monday, June 5th. — Dina, Mile. Colignon, and myself, 
stopped out on the terrace in the moonlignt reflected in the 
smooth sea, until ten o'clock. We discussed friendship and 
what ought to be our relations with our fellow-men ; I made 



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118 MARIE BA8HRIRTSEFF. 

my confession of faith. The Sapogenikoffs suggested the 
topic, as they have not yet written to us. 

Colignon's admiration for them is well known ; indeed, 
she cannot exist without adoring some one. She is the 
most romantic and sentimental woman in the world. She 
believes in friendship and in the happiness of trusting 
others. 

I, the opposite. 

Just consider how unhappy I should be had I felt a great 
friendship for the Sapogenikoffs. 

We never regret having been kind, obliging, amiable, or 
having acted on an impulse of the heart ; we only regret it 
when we meet with ingratitude in return. And it is, indeed, 
a great grief for a Kind-hearted person to discover that 
sympathy and friendship have been wasted. 

" Oh, Marie, I don't agree with you." 

" But do listen, Mademoiselle. Here I have been for 
the last hour exhausting my breath in explanations and 
arguments, to find that after all my talk you are deaf to 
what I've been saying. 

" No doubt of it." 

" I don't blame you, I don't blame any one ; because I don't 
expect anything from anybody. On the contrary, the reverse 
of ingratitude would have surprised me. I assure you it is 
much safer to regard life and our fellow men as I do ; to give 
them no place in your heart ; but use them as rungs in the 
ladder by which you rise." 

" Marie ! Marie ! " 

"It can't be helped. You are differently constituted from 
me ! Look here ! I am sure you have spoken ill of me to 
the Sapogenikoffs and others. I am as certain of it as if I had 
heard witn my own ears, and yet I trust you exactly as I used 
to, and shall always do." 

" It is your study of the philosophers which gives you this 
distrust oi everybody." 

" I don't distrust people, only I don't place my trust in 
any one ; there's a great difference between the two." 

" No, listen, Marie, you have no friendship for any- 
body." 

" But just reflect what it would be if I had ; supposing 
that instead of taking Marie and Olga at their true worth, as 

food-natured girls, ready to laugh with me and at me when my 
ack was turned, as I at them ; supposing Olga and I had 
become bosom friends. I write to her from Rome ; she 
answers three words at the end of three weeks ; I write to her 



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NICE, 1876. 119 

again, and this time she doesn't answer at all. What do you 
say to that ? And it's not the first instance." 

" But what can you expect from your friends if you give 
them nothing in return ? " 

" We don t understand each other. I show them all kinds 
of attention I am ready to do all I can for them ; let them 
ask me anything they like, I should be happy to meet their 
wishes ; but I don't give them my heart, for, believe me, it's 
exasperating to give it for nothing." 

" We can never feel exasperated when we have done what 
is right — our duty, in short. 

"Friendship is not a duty. You are neither doing a" 1 
good nor a bad action in bestowing your friendship on 
some one. Your friendships don't count because you have 
such a constant craving for it ; but when it comes from the 
heart, it is very distressing to find yourself repaid with 
ingratitude." 

" So much the worse for those who are ungrateful." 

" How selfish that is ! I used to think formerly that I 
loved the whole world ; but I see that this universal love is 
only another name for universal indifference. I am full of 
benevolence for my fellow men. I see they are all bad, and 
this makes me feel supremety indulgent towards them. . . . 
Have you read Epictetus ? It seems to me that one 
must be a stoic as regards friendship. You receive a shock 
and you can't help making a gesture of fear and surprise : 
it does not depend on yourself; but it depends on you 
to acquiesce in your first feelings. We cannot avoid 
feeling certain preferences, but we can avoid acquiescing in 
them/' "^ 

" Your reading will land you in atheism ; you won't believe 
in anything at last, Marie." 

" Oh no ! If you could read my thoughts you would not 
say so." 

" All philosophers are dangerous reading." 

" Not if you have a sound mind. . . . But the truth is," 
I said, " when everything's said and done, there's only one 
thing that's worth anythmg in life (I speak of our feelings), 
and that's love." 

" Yes." 

" There's no greater pleasure in the world than to love and 
be loved." 

" That's true." 

"And for goodness' sake don't let us go into subtleties 
about it Let us only take the pleasure we receive, and 



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120 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

. that which we give. Love is a divine thing in itself, I mean 
as long as it lasts, it makes a man behave perfectly to- 
wards the object he loves ; it gives him devotion, tenderness, 
!>assion, sincerity, faithfulness, everything. We may, there- 
ore, try to fathom love, but never inan. Man may be com- 
Eared to a cavern. You always find damp or dirt at the 
ottom, or else an opening, so that in reality there is no 
bottom at all But all this doesn't prevent my loving my 
neighbours." 

" It is impossible to enjoy anything if one is indifferent to 
it alL" 

" No, no ; I am not indifferent, but I only value people 
according to their merit" 

Mamma has been crying to-day, and my aunt's face looks 
troubled ; they have talked over all my misery. 

I was coming home with my arms hanging down listlessly, 
eves staring and knitted eyebrows ; I was choking in spite of 
the blue sky, the bubbling fountain, the medlar trees covered 
with fruit, and the pure air. I walked on without noticing 
anything. 

Why not suppose that I love him, unworthy as he is. 

Heavens ! Wnat is the meaning of this man, and of this 
love? 

Everything is to be crushed in me, my self-love, my pride, 
and my love. 

Tuesday \ June 6th. — I have been reading over my account 
of yesterday ; only misery and tears. 

By two o'clock my spirits had risen sufficiently for me to 
cease being angry, ana to enable me to merely sigh from 
contempt. These thoughts are unworthy of me, we should 
only remember injuries when we can be revenged. To think 
of them otherwise is to give too much importance to people 
who don't deserve it — it's degrading to oneself; but mdeed 
I am not thinking of these people, I am thinking of myself, 
my position, ana of the carelessness of my relations. For 
that's the cause of all the trouble. 

If the A 's had raised the question of religion, that 

would only amuse me, and I really think that if they were to 
beg me to accept Pietro I would not have him. 

But it's the disgrace, the thought that things have been 
said against us. 

For this marriage has been all the talk, and, for certain, 
people won't say that the refusal comes from me. Indeed, 
they would be right. Did I not consent ? To gain time ; to 



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NICE, 1876. 121 

keep him hanging on in any case. I don't repent of it, I did 
well, and if it's turned out badly it's not my fault. 

We are not known ; people catch up a word here and there, 
they gossip, exaggerate, invent ! and to be quite helpless — oh, 
heavens ! 

Let us understand each other. I don't complain, I narrate 
facts, that's all. 

I have a profound contempt for the whole world, so 
I can't complain or be angry with any one. Love, as I 
imagined it, does not exist ! Tis only an imagination, an 
ideal ! 

Is it possible that perfect modesty, perfect purity are only 
words of my invention ? So when I went down to speak to 
him on the eve of our leaving he simply looked upon it as a 
rendezvous of the ordinary kind ? 

When I leant upon his arm it was only with desire that 
he trembled. When I looked at him in a grave and deeply 
moved way like a pagan priestess of old, he saw nothing but a 
woman and a rendezvous. 

And did I indeed love him ? No ; or more correctly speak- 
ing, I loved his love of me. 

But as I am incanable of treachery in love, I felt for him 
exactly as if I loved him myself. 

It was an exaltation of the fancy ; you may call it fanaticism, 
shortsightedness, stupidity — yes, stupidity ! 

If I were cleverer I should have understood the man's 
character better. 

He loved me as he could. It was for me to see that one 
does not cast pearls before swine. 

The punishment is hard ; my illusions are destroyed for a 
long time to come, and I feel remorse for myself ; I was wrong 
to think as I did. 

I should have been as others are, vulgar and prosaic. 

It is owing to my great vouth, I suppose, that I committed 
these futilities. What is the meaning of these ideas of the 
other world ? We understand them no longer, for the world 
has not changed. Now I am falling into the common mis- 
take and accusing the world on account of the villainy of one 
man. Because one man turns out to be base I deny all great- 
ness of mind and soul. 

I deny that man's love because he has done nothing for 
it, Even if he had been threatened with being disinherited 
and cursed, could that have prevented his writing to me ? No, 
no. He is a coward. 



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122 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Thursday, June 8th. — Books of philosophy astound me. 
They are productions of the imagination altogether upsetting. 
By reading much of them in time I should get used to it, but 
at present they take my breath away. 

What do you say to Fourier ? And then look at Jouffroy's 
system : " The soul goes outward under the pressure of sen- 
sation, and then retires within herself carrying back the 
object." 

It's astonishing, but it's nonsense. When the fever of 
reading is upon me I go mad over it, and it seems as if I 
could never read enough ; I would like to know everything, 
and my head seems bursting, and then again only ashes and 
chaos arc around me. 

I am all in a fever in my haste to read Horace. Oh ! to 
think that there are chosen ones, who enjoy themselves, 
who rush about, who dress, and dance, and gossip, 
and laugh, and love, who, in short, plunge into all the 
delights of a worldly life, while I, I am rusting in 
Nice! 

I am pretty resigned on the whole, as long as I don't 
remember that we live but once. Oh, just to think that we 
live but once, and life is so short ! 

When I think of it I am like one possessed, and my 
brain seethes with despair. 

We live but once, and I am losing this precious life 
hidden in the house, seeing nobody ! 

Wo live but once ! and they spoil my life ! 

We live but once ! and they make me lose my time 
miserably! And the days are passing, passing, never to 
return, and abridging my life ! 

We live but once ! and must this short life be still further 
shortened, spoilt, stolen — yes, stolen by infamous circum- 
stances. 

Oh, Lord ! 

f~ Friday, June 9th. — In reading about my stay at Rome, 
and my perturbed state at Pietro's disappearance, I am quite 
surprised at having written with so niucn vivacity. 

I read and shrug my shoulders. I ought not to be 
astonished, knowing how easily my fancy is touched. 

There are moments when I aon't know what I hate or 
what I love, what I desire or what I fear. Then all be- 
comes indifferent, and I try to understand things, and the 
consequence is such a whirl of excitement in my brain 
that 1 have to shake my head and stop my ears, preferring 



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mOE, 1876. 123 

even a state of stupor to this self-analysis and heartj 
searching. 

Saturday, June 10th. — "Do you know," said I to the 
doctor, "that I spit blood, and ought to be taken care 
of?" 

"Oh, Mademoiselle," said Walitzky, "if you persist in 
sitting up every night till three o'clock in the morning you 
will get no end of diseases." 

" And why do you think I go to bed so late ? Because 
my mind is not at rest. Give me peace and I will sleep 
peacefully." 

"You might have had it. You had an opportunity at 
Rome." 

" With whom ? " 

" With A , in getting married without changing your 

religion." 

" Oh, friend Walitzky , how shocking ! With such a man 

as A ! Are you thinking of what you are saying ? A 

man who has no will or opinions of his own. How can you 
talk such nonsense, really ? ' 

And I began to laugh softly. 

" He doesn't come ; he does not write," I went on ; " he 
is a poor child whose importance we have exaggerated. No, 
my friend, he isn't a man, and we did wrong to think 
so." 

I said these last words with the same calmness with which 
I had spoken all along, from the conviction 1 had of having 
said what was true and just. 

/ went to ray room, and all at once I savj evei*y thing 
with extraordinary clearness. I understood, at last, how 
wrong I had been in allowing a kiss, only one, but still a 
kiss ; to appoint a rendezvous at the bottom of the stairs. 
I understood that if I had not gone into the passage, nor to 
any oilier place, if I had not sought this rendezvous, the 
man would leave had more respect for me, and I should, have 
been spared my vexation and tears. 

(How I liKe myself for saying this ! How charming of 
me ! Paris, 1877.) 

Always stick to this principle; I lost sight of it, and 
committed a folly owing to the attraction of novelty, the ease 
with which I take fancies into my head, and my want of 
experience. 

Oh, how could I have understood it all since ! 

Ah ! my good friends, don't blame me. One is young and 



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124 MABIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

makes mistakes. A has taught me how to behave to 

my admirers. 

To live a hundred years, to learn a hundred years ! 

Oh, how plain it all seems, how calm I feel, and how 
cured I am of love ! 

I mean to go out every day, to be gay and hopeful. 

" Ah ! sou f elice ; 
Ah ! son rapita ! " 

I am singine " Mignon," and my heart is full. 

How beautiful the moon looks reflected on the sea ! How 
adorable is Nice. 

I love the whole world ! All the faces I see passing look 
smiling and amiable. 

It's over, I said that couldn't last I will live in peace ! 
I will go to Russia ; that would improve our position. I 
would take my father to Rome. 

Monday, June 12th ; Tuesday, June 13th. — I who wanted 
to live seven lives at once, and can't even get the quarter ot 
one. I am fettered. 

God will take pity on me ; but I feel weak, and I think I 
shall die. 

It's as I say. Either I must have all that God has given 
me ... . the power of perceiving and understanding — and 
then I would deserve to have it — or I shall die. 

For my Maker, not being able to grant me everything 
without injustice, will not be cruel enough to keep a wretch 
alive to whom He has given understanding and the ambition 
of what she understands. 

God has not made me as I am without some intention. 
He cannot have given me the faculty of seeing all to torture 
me by giving me nothing. This supposition is not in 
harmony with the nature of God, who is all goodness and 
mercy. 

I will have things, or I shall die. It's as I say. Let His 
will be done ! I love Him, I believe in Him ; I beseech Him 
to forgive me when I have done wrong. 

He has given me understanding to satisfy it if I show 
myself worthy of it If I prove unworthy He will make 
me die. 

Wednesday, June 14th. — Besides the triumph I have 
procured to the little Italian fellow, which is very annoying 



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NTCE, 1876. 125 

to me, I also perceive the scandal which the affair has 
caused. 

I never expected an adventure of this kind ; I could never 
have foreseen it I never imagined such a thing happening 
to me. I knew such things did happen, but I did not believe 
it; I did not picture it to myself, as one doesn't picture 
death if one has never seen a corpse. O my life, my poor, 
poor life ! " 

If I am as pretty as I say, why don't people love me ? 
They look at me ! They are enamoured ! But they don't 
love me. I who have such a great need to be loved ! 

Novels have turned my Drain ! No, no ; I read novels 
because my brain is already turned. I read over again the 
old books. I look with lamentable eagerness for the scenes 
and speeches of love. I devour them because it seems to 
me that I love, and because it seems to me that I am 
not loved. I love; yes, because I won't give it another 
name. 

Well, no; it isn't that which I want. I want to go 
into the world ; I want to shine in it ; I want to occupy 
a supreme position. I want to be rich ; I want to have 
pictures, palaces, jewels. I want to be the centre of a circle 
that shall be political, brilliant, literary, philanthropic, and 
frivolous. I want all that .... may God give it to 
me ! 

God ! do not punish me for these wildly ambitious 
thoughts ! 

Are there not people who are born in the midst of it all, 
and who find it quite natural, and never thank God 
at all? 

Am I guilty in wishing to be great ? 

No ; for I will use my greatness in thanking God, and 
in wishing to be happy ! 

. People who are satisfied with a modest and comfortable 
home, are they less ambitious than I ? No ; for they can't 
see beyond. 

He who is content to pass his life humbly in the bosom 
of his family, is he modest and moderate in his desires, owing 
to his virtue, his resignation, and his wisdom ? No, no, no ! 
It makes him happy to be so ; he finds his greatest happiness 
in this retired existence. If he does not wish it, it is be- 
cause it would make him wretched. There are others who 
dare not ; as for them, they are not wise — they are cowards ! 
for they secretly covet things, but nevertheless remain where 



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126 MABTE BA8HKIHTSEFF. 

they are, not from Christian humility, but owing to their 
timid and incapable natures. O God, if my conclusions are 
are wrong, enlighten me, forgive me, and have mercy upon 
me! 

Thursday, Jane 22nd. — I used to joke when people 
praised up Italy, and ask myself why they made such a to-do 
about that country, and why it was spoken of as a country 
apart. But so it is. We breathe more freely there. For 
life is different there — large, free, mad, fantastic, languid ; at 
once burning and soft as its sun, its sky, its campagna. So 
I soar on my poet's wings (for at times I am wholly a poet 
and nearly always by some side of my nature), and 1 would 
exclaim with Mignon : 

" Italia, reggio di del ; 
Sol beato ! " 

Saturday, June 2Uh. — I was waiting to be called to the 
dejeuner, when the doctor came, quite out of breath, to tell 
me they had just received a letter from Pietro. I blushed 
very much, but did not raise my eyes from the book I was 
reading. 

" Well, well, what does he write ? " 

" They would not give him any money ; however, I don't 
know ; you had better see for yourself." 

I took good care not to l>e too eager ; I was ashamed to 
show so much interest. 

I was the first at table, quite against my usual habit — 
eating .... most impatiently, but saying nothing. 

" Is it true what the doctor has told me?" I asked at 
length. 

" Yes," replied my aunt ; " A has written to him." 

" Where is the letter, doctor ? " 

" In my room." 

" Give it to me." 

This letter is dated the tenth June ; but as A simply 

addressed it Nizza, it travelled all the way to Nizza, in Italy, 
before getting here. 

" I nave been trying all this time," he writes, " to get 
leave of my parents to come here ; but they absolutely refuse 
to hear of it." So that, in short, it's imnossible for him to 
come ; and all that remains to him is the nope of the future, 
which is always uncertain. 

The letter is in Italian, and they expected to have it 
translated. I said not a word, but, gathering up my train 



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NICE, 1876. 127 

with affected slowness, so that they should not think I was 
running away choking, left the room and crossed the garden 
with outward calm and hell in my heart 

This is not an answer to a friend's telegram from Monaco, 
sent as a joke. It's written to me by way of advice. To me ! 
to me, who had placed myself on an imaginary eminence ! 
.... It is to me he says it ! 

Die ? God forbids it ! Turn singer ? I have neither 
sufficient health nor patience. 

What, what am 1 to do then ? 

I threw myself into an easy-chair, and, with eyes fixed on 
vacancy, tried to understand the letter — to think of some- 
thing. .... 

" Will you go to the clairvoyant ? " shouted mamma 
from the garden. 

" Yes," I replied, getting up stiffly. " When ? " 

" This minute." 

Anything, anything not to remain alone ; not to go out of 
my mind ; anything to escape from myself. 

The clairvoyant, we find, has gone. 

The ride in the heat was neither good nor bad for 
me. I took a handful of cigarettes and my journal, intend- 
ing to poison my lungs while writing tne most inflam- 
matory pages ; but all strength of will seemed to have 
left me. 

As in a dream I walked slowly to my bed, quite stiff and 
straight, and lay down just as I was, drawing the lace curtains 
together. 

Impossible to describe my suffering ; indeed, there comes 
a moment when one cannot even complain. Crushed as I am, 
what should I complain of ? 

I find no words to express my profound disgust and 
discouragement Love ! ! No, I have never known it. This 
then is the truth ! that that man has never loved, but looked 
upon marriage as a means of emancipating himself. I won't 
say anything of his protestations ; I never mentioned them, for 
I never took theui quite seriously. I don't say he was 
lying ; we nearly always believe ourselves what we say at the 
moment — but afterwards ? . . . . 

And in spite of everything, in spite of the Gospel, I am 
burning to be revenged. I shall take my time, never fear, and 
I will be revenged. 

"Chi lungo a tempo aspetta 
Vede al fin la sua vendetta." 



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128 MARIE BASHKI11TSEFF. 

I went to my room, wrote a few lines, and then, suddenly 
losing heart, began to weep. Oh, after all I am only a 
child ! All these sorrows are too heavy for me to bear quite 
alone, and I thought of waking my aunt, but she would 
think that I was weeping for love, and I couldn't bear 
that. 

To say that love has nothing at all to do with my state is 
the bare truth. I loathe it at present. 

A mere boy, a laughing-stock lined with a scape- 
grace, and covered with a Jesuit ; a child, a Paul ! And 
that's the thing I loved ! Bah ! Why not ? Don't men 
fall in love with a cocotte, a grisette, a country-wench, 
any sort of creature ? Great men and great kings have 
loved nonentities, and have not been discrowned on that 
account. 

I seemed to be going mad with impotent rage ; all my 
nerves were on the rack, and I began to sing ; that calms 
you. 

If I were to sit up all night I could never say what I 
want to; and if I did, it would be nothing new, only the 
same things I have said already. 

All the things I saw and heard in Rome come back to me, 
and in meditating on that singular mixture of devotion and 
libertinism, of religion and rascality, of submission and 
depravity, of prudery, haughty pride, and lowest meanness, I 
said to myself, " Rome is certainly a unique city, at once 
singular, savage, and refined." 

Everything in it is different from other towns. You seem 
to be in another planet. 

And no doubt Rome, which has had a fabulous origin, a 
fabulous prosperity, and a fabulous decline, should be some- 
thing striking and out of the common, both morally and 
physically. 

The cit/y of God — I mean to say the city of priests. 
Since the king is there everything has changed, but only 
amongst the Liberals; the priests always remain the same 

— that's why I never understood anything of what A 

used to tell me, because I always regarded his affairs as 
fables, or as entirely peculiar, whereas they were simply 
Roman. 

Why must I have come across this inhabitant of the 
moon, of the old moon, of old Rome, I mean the Cardinal's 
nephew ! 

But it's interesting at least to me, who love the extra- 



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NICE, 1876. 129 

ordinary. It's original. Well, it's very strange all the same 
— Rome and the Romans. 

Instead of giving vent to expressions of astonishment, it 
would be much better if I were to tell what I know of Rome 
and the Romans. 

You must know that when Pietro was at death's door six 
years ago, his mother made him eat slips of paper, on which 
this word was written over and over again, Maria, Maria, 
Maria. She did this that the Virgin might cure him. It's 
perhaps on that account he fell in love with a Maria — a very 
earthly one however. Besides that, they made him drink holy 
water instead of medicine. 

But that's nothing. Little bv little, no doubt, I shall 
recall all I heard, and you will find some very curious 
things. 

The Cardinal, for example, is by no means a good man, 
and on being told that his nephew was trying to amend in the 
monastery, he laughed, saying it was absurd, for a man of three- 
and-twenty did not suddenly become good at the end of eight 
days passed in a convent ; that if he seemed so, he wanted 
money, no doubt. 

Friday, June 30th. — How I pity old men, especially since 
grandpapa has become quite blind ; I am so sorry for him. 

To-day I had to lead him down-stairs, and feed him myself. 
He is ashamed of it, owing to a kind of self-love which has 
always made him wish to appear young, and it had to bo 
done with a great deal of management. But he accepted my 
services very gratefully, for I had offered them with a kina 
of brusque persistence, mixed with tenderness, which people 
can't resist 

Sunday, Jvly 2nd. — Oh, how hot it is ! and how dull ! 
No, I am wrong in calling it dull ; one cannot be dull with so 
many mental resources as I have. I am not dull, because I 
can read, sins' paint, and muse to myself, but I am restless 
and depressea. 

Is my poor youth to be spent between the dining-room 
and petty domestic worries ? A woman lives from sixteen to 
forty. I shudder at the thought of losing even a month 
of my life. 

What is the good of my having studied, of having tried to 
know more than other women, of priding myself on knowing 
all the branches of learning that are attributed to famous men 
in their biographies ? 
k 2 



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130 MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 

I have some idea of them all, but I have only really gone 
into history, literature, and natural philosophy, so as to read 
everything about them — everything that is interesting. As a 
matter of fact, I find everything interesting that I put my 
heart into, and this sets me on fire. 

What then is the good of my having studied and thought ? 
Why endowed with wit, beauty, and a voice ? To grow 
mouldy, to be bored to death ? If I were ignorant and coarse, 
perhaps I should be happy. 

Not a single living soul to talk to! A girl of sixteen 
cannot be quite satisfied with the family circle, especially 
when she is a girl like me. 

Of course grandpapa is clever. But then he is old and 
blind, and he is everlastingly quarrelling with his man 
Triphon and grumbling about the ainner. 

Mamma has plenty of esprit, but not much information ; 
her manners are not polished, she hasn't any tact, and her 
mind has got dull and rusty through her never talking 
about anything but the servants, my health, and the 
dogs. 

Auntie is rather better. She even rather impresses you 
when you don't know her well. 

Have I ever mentioned their ages ? Mamma would 
still be a fine woman if it were not for her bad health. 
Auntie is a few years younger, but she looks the elder 
of the two. She is not good-looking, but tall and well pro- 
portioned. 

Amor* decre8cit ubiqxw crescere nan j>os»it 

That is why lovers, when once they have felt perfectly 
happy, begin imperceptibly to love each other less and less, 
ana end at last by drifting apart altogether. 

I am going away to-morrow. I can't say how sorry I am 
to leave Sice. 

All these preparations for the journey rather damp my 
resolution. 

I have selected the music to take with me, and some books, 
the encyclopaedia, a volume each of Plato, Dante, Ariosto, and 
Shakespeare ; also a number of English novels by Bulwer, 
Collins, and Dickens. 

I was rude to auntie, and then I went out on the terrace. 
I stopped out m the garden till dusk. How lovely the twilight 
is with the sea and space for background, and these luxuriant 

# It is dolor in Syrus, but I say Amor, because the maxim is equally 
applicable to both. 



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NICE, 1876. 131 

plants and thick foliaged trees ! And then, by way of contrast, 
the bamboos and palm-trees. The fountain, the grotto with 
its little waterfall trickling from rock to rock before falling 
into the basin. All rouna, the bushy trees give the spot a 
look of peacefulness and mystery, which makes one lazy and 
sets one dreaming. 

Why does water always make one dreamy ? 

I stopped in the garden and looked at a stone vase in 
which a lovely canna rose was iust unfolding. I thought how 
pretty my white dress and leafy crown must look in that en- 
trancing garden. 

Is mat all I am ever to do in life — dress myself carefully, 
put leaves in my hair, and think about the effect ? 

Well, candidly, if other people were to read me I think 
they would consider me a bore. I am still so young, I know 
so little of life ! 

I cannot speak with the authority or the assurance of 
writers who profess — what presumption !— to know men, to lay 
down laws and to bind their maxims on other people. 

My maid is here with a dress for me to wear to-morrow ; 
it reminds me of my departure. 

I went back to my room, followed by all the dogs. I drew 
my white trunk close to the table. Ah, my chief regret ! . . . 
my diary ... it is part of myself. Every day I have been in 
the habit of running through the pages of one of my manu- 
script books, when 1 wished to recall Konie or Nice, or some- 
thing older still ! 

The night was too lovely ! 

And on this my last evening, iust as if it had done it on 
purpose, the moon shone out cold and clear, illuminating 
all the beauties of my town. Mine ! Of course it is, my 
town. No one is likely to dispute the possession with me. 
I am too insignificant 

Besides, does not the sun belong to everybody ? I went 
into the dining-room. The moonlight poured in through 
the large open windows and flooded the white stuccoed 
wall and the white chair covers. We can't help feeling 
melancholy on such a summer night, whether we will 
or no. 

I went twice round the room. I felt a lack of something 
or other, and yet I was not unhappy. Far from it. I did 
not want anything. I should have liked always to feel so 
gentle, so good. My soul expanded under this feeling of 
nappy calm ; it seemed as though it would enwrap me all 



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132 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

round. 1 sat down at the piano, and let my white tapering 
fingers wander over the keys. But still there was something 
wanting, some one perhaps. . 



I am going to Russia. . . . How willingly I ought to 
starting, on the day I have looked forward to so im- 



go to bed early to-night, so as to shorten the time before 



patiently ! 

I am drawn towards Rome. . . . Rome is a city one 
doesn't understand at first. The first few days I was there 
I saw nothing but the Pincio and the Corso. I did not 
understand the simple beauty of a country treeless and 
houseless, yet surcharged with associations. Nothing but a 
plain swelling like the sea in a storm, dotted here and there 
with flocks of sheep with their shepherds, just as Virgil 
describes. 

For it is only our demoralised class of society which 
undergoes such numberless transformations. Simple people, 
unartificial people, do not change, and are the same in every 
country. 

Side by side with these vast plains, furrowed with aque- 
ducts whose straight lines cut the horizon and produce the 
most thrilling effect, we see the finest relics of barbarism and 
civilisation. 

Though why should I say barbarism ? It is we modern 
pigmies, in our petty pride, who consider ourselves more 
civilised, because we were born last. 

No description can give a correct idea of those lovely and 
noble lands, those lands of sunshine, beauty, soul, genius, art ; 
of those lands which have fallen so low and remained 
prostrate so long that it seems impossible they should ever 
rise again. 

When people talk of glory, soul, or beauty, they are only 
talking of love. They only talk of glory and beauty in order 
to make a fittingly handsome frame for that picture which is 
always the same yet ever new. 

The idea of leaving my diary here hurts me. 
r Poor diary, it contains all my strivings towards the light, 
all those aspirations which would be considered those ot an 
imprisoned genius if they were crowned in the end with 
success. If, on the other hand, I never come to anything, they 
will be looked upon as the conceited ravings of a commonplace 
person. 

To marry and have children ! Any washerwoman can 
do that 



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NICE, 1876. 133 

Unless I could find a civilised and enlightened man, or one 
who is pliant and very much in love. 

What do I want ? Oh, you know well enough. I wanti 
Glouy. 

This diary certainly won't give it me. It will only be 
published after my death, for I cannot lay myself quite hare 
to the world in my lifetime. Besides, it ought only to be 
complementary to a distinguished life. 

A distinguished life ! A will-o'-the-wisp produced by 
isolation, historical readings, and a too lively imagina- 
tion ! . . . 

I don't know any language really well. My native tongue 
I merely know because it was spoken at home ; and I left 
Russia when I was ten years old. 

I speak English and Italian well, I think, and write in 
French, and I believe I still make mistakes in spelling ! 
And I am often at a loss for a word, and then I hnd my 
thought easily and gracefully expressed by some celebrated 
writer. It is aggravating beyond anything ! 

Take this for instance, " Whatever may be said to the 
contrary, travelling is one of the saddest pleasures of life ; 
when you really feel at ease in some strange town, it is be- 
cause you are oeginning to make it a home.' 

It was the author of Corinne who said that. And how 
many times have I sat, pen in hand, losing patience because I 
cannot make my meaning clear ! how often have I finished 
by bursting into some such expression as this — " I hate new 
towns ; what an infliction new faces are ! " 

We all think alike, it seems ; the difference consisting in 
our way of expressing it : just as all people are composed of 
the same materials, yet now vastly they differ in features, 
height, complexion, and character ! 

And some day or other I shall be sure to meet with 
this very idea, only expressed cleverly, eloquently, and at- 
tractively. 

What then am I ? Nothing. What do I want to be ? 
Everything. 

My head is tired. Let me rest it after all these yearnings 

for the Infinite. Let me think about A . Ah, still 

harping on him ! A mere child, a wretch ! 

No ; Is it not possible that he does not altogether love 
me? 

He loves me as I love him. Oh, well then, it is not worth 
talking about .... No ; the chief thing is that I am leaving 
my diary behind. 



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134 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

I have finished this iiianuscript-book. When I get to 
Paris I will begin another, which will probably do for Russia 
as well. 

No one will take any notice of a manuscript-book at the 
Custom house. 

I am taking Pietro's last letter. 

I have just re-read it. He is unhappy ! But why hasn't 
he got more spirit ? 

I can speak of it quite coolly ; yes, I in my most excep- 
tionally despotic position — but he ? . . . . Those Romans ! 

It is a most unheard-of thing. 

Poor Pietro ! My future fame prevents me from thinking 
seriously about him. It seems to rebuke me for the thoughts 
which I bestow on him. 

Dear goddess, make yourself easy. Pietro is only a 
diversion, a strain of music under which to conceal my 
soul's lament. And yet I am angry with myself for thinking 
about him, because he is useless to me ! He can't even serve 
as the first rung of the divine ladder on whose topmost round 
rests satisfied ambition. 

Grand Hotel, Paris. 

July 4fth. 
Amor, ut lacryma, ocido oritur, in pectus eadit. 

Publius Syrus. 

Wednesday, July 5th. — Yesterday, at two o'clock, I left 
Nice with my aunt and my maid Amelia Chocolat has hurt 
his feet, and will be sent on in a couple of days. 

Mamma was crying over my departure for three days before 
I left, so I have been very gentle and affectionate with her. 

The loves of husbancls, lovers, friends, and children, come 
and go, for all those relationships can occur ttvice. 

But there can only be one mother, and a mother is the 
only being on whom we may absolutely rely, whose love 
is disinterested, devoted, and eternal. Perhaps I felt all 
chis for the first time when I was bidding her good-bye. 

And how scornful I felt towards my loves for H , L — — , 

and A ! How paltry it seems to me now ! Nothing at all. 

Grandpapa nearly melted into tears. But then there is 
always something solemn in an old man's farewells. He 
blessed me and gave me a picture of the Madonna. 

Mamma and Dina came with us to the station. 

As usual, I looked as cheerful as possible at starting, but 
I felt very much distressed all the same. 

Mamma did not cry, but I could feel how unhappy she 



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PARIS, 1876. 135 

was, and a flood of regret came over me at parting for having 
so often been harsh towards her. However, as I looked at her 
from the carriage window, I reflected that I had never been 
harsh out of perversity, but because I was so sad and 
despairing myself, and now I am going away so that I may 
change our life altogether. 

When the train nad started, I felt that my eyas were full 
of tears, and I involuntarily compared this departure with the 
last I made — that from Roma 

Were my feelings weaker then, because I was not leaving 
so great a sorrow — a mother's sorrow — behind ? 

I at once began to read Corinne. The description of Italy 
is most fascinating to me. And what a pleasure to be able to 
see Rome once more through my author's eyes 1 — Rome, my 
beautiful Rome, with all its treasures ! 

I admit, frankly, that I did not understand Rome at first. 
What impressed me most was the Coliseum. If I knew how 
to express my thoughts, I should have uttered a crowd of 
beautiful ideas that came into my head, when I was stand- 
ing speechless in the precinct of the Vestal Virgins, opposite 
the Emperor's. 

We reached Paris at half-past one. It must be admitted 
that if Paris is not the most beautiful of towns, she is, at any 
rate, the most winning and charming. 

Has not Paris also the history of greatness, decay, revolu- 
tion, glory, and terror ? And yet all pales before Rome, for 
Rome was the mother of all the other nations. 

Rome swallowed up Greece, the nursery of civilisation, art, 
heroes, and poets. As to architecture, sculpture, or thought, 
which has since been developed, is it aught but imitation of 
the ancients ? 

With us there is no originality except in what is 
media3vaL Oh, why, why is it that the world is effete ? Is it 
that the spirit of man has already done all that it is cap- 
able of doing ? 

Monday, July 10th. — It is all very well for the novels to 
say the contrary, but it is quite true that power and glory 
(inferior things that this world can give) do set a halo round 
what we love, and even almost make us love what is 
distasteful to us. 

So true is this that, notwithstanding the outcry of all the 
sentimentalists, it is quite clearly demonstrated that the 
strongest minds are not proof against plausible advantages, 
against outside show. 



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136 . MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Putting that aside, how does it look from the side of the 
affections ? 

How horrible it is that a trifling cause can separate two 
persons, can make one suffer the agonies of doubt, estrange- 
ment, and unhappiness ! all on account of money. I despise 
money, but I admit that it is very necessary. 

When we are physically well, our brain and affections are 
unfettered. Then we can love disinterestedly, without re- 
servation and without sordid ideas. 

Why have so many women loved kings ? 

Because a king is a type of power, and though a woman 
loves to rule, she needs something strong to lean upon, 
just as a frail and delicate plant entwmes itself round a tree. 

Now I love A ; but my love is constantly shaken, now 

by doubt, now by fear. 

At one moment I am degraded in my own self-respect, 
humiliated by my undignified dependence ; I might nave 
loved him very much, witn a strong and enduring love. In- 
stead of that I am buffeted by a feelmg which drags me now 
this way, now that, and which makes me doubtful, undecided, 
mercenary, and wretched. 

^ Oh, don't impute mean and sordid motives to me !• I 
don't love a man because he is rich, but because he is free, 
unhampered in his actions. I should like to be rich, because 
then I shouldn't have to think about money at all, should not 
have to submit to this brutal but irresistible force of circum- 
stances. 

I was just going to begin again, but all I can say re- 
solves itself into this : Perfect moral well-being can only 
exist when the material side of us is satisfied, and when 
we are not forced to remember that we have an empty 
stomachy 

When we love the passion is at white heat, carries all 
before it, but only for a moment, and afterwards you become 
more conscious of all I have been saying. I didn t read it in 
books, nor have I experienced it myself But let those who 
have lived, who are no longer sixteen years old like me, put 
aside that false shame which prevents them from confessing 
things of the kind, let them tell the truth for once, and say 
whether I am not right in what I am trying to prove. //' 
people are vontented with little it only proven that they don't 
see furtlier than their noses. 

Thursday, Jidy 13th. — In the evening we go to see 
Countess M. She talks marriage to me. 



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PARIS, 1876. 137 

" Oh no," I said, " I don't want to be married ; I want to be 
a singer. Now, dear Countess, I'll tell you what we must do. 
I will disguise myself like a poor girl, and you and my aunt will 
take me to the best singing master in Paris, and tell him I 
am a little Italian whom you arq interested in, and who shows 
promise in singing." 

" Dear me ! " said the Countess, " what next ? " 

" You see," I went on calmly ; " that is the only way in 
which I shall be able to learn the truth about my voice. 
And I have a last year's frock which will do beautifully." 
And I pursed up my mouth. 

" Very well/ said the Countess ; " it is a brilliant idea." 

Father sends a telegram to say he is expecting me impa- 
tiently. Uncle ^tienne sends another to say that he will 
meet me at the frontier. Uncle Alexander sends a third 
to say that the cholera is in Russia. I am not in the 
least afraid. I am no fatalist, nor do I believe in predesti- 
nation. I firmly believe that nothing happens without the 
will of God. If God intends me to die now, nothing in the 
world can hinder it And if He intends me to live long, 
no epidemic that ever raged can do me any harm. 

Auntie has come to beg me to go to bed, because it is 
one o'clock. 

" Oh, do go away ! " I said ; " if you worry me I shall go 
out of my mind." 

God ! what is this weight on my mind ? Paris ! yes, 
it is Paris, the common meeting-ground of genius, glory, 
everything. Light, vanity, dizziness ! 

God, give me the life I would have, or let me die ! 

Thursday, July 14th. — I have been taking great care of 
myself all the morning. I cough as little as I can ; I keep 
still ; I am baked with the heat, and parched with thirst, 
and yet I don't drink to quench it. 

iSot before one o'clock did I have a cup of coffee and 
an egg. The egg had so much salt in it that it was like 
eating salt accompanied by egg rather than egg accompanied 
by salt. 

1 have an idea that salt is good for the throat. 

I put on a plain grey cambric dress, a black lace jichu, 
and a orown hat. When I was dressed I thought I looked 
so nice that I should always like to be dressed like 
that 

We started at last, picked up Madame on the way, and 



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138 MAEIE BA8HKTRT8EFF. 

reached the door of 27, Chauss^e d'Antin. This is the 
house of M. Wartel, the first singing-master in Paris. 

Madame M had already called on him, and spoken 

of a girl from Italy, who had come to her with the very best 
recommendations. Her relatives wished to know what course 
to take with regard to her musical career. 

M. Wartel said he would see her on the following day, 
and with considerable trouble appointed four o'clock for the 
interview. 

We reached the house at three o'clock, and were shown 
into an outer room. We were just going further, but were 
stopped by a servant, who would not let us pass till we said 
that M. Wartel was expecting us. 

We were then shown into a small room leading into 
another, where the professor was giving a lesson. 

" The interview is at four o'clock, madame," said a servant 
entering. 

" I know ; but perhaps you will allow this young lady to 
sit here and listen.' 

" With pleasure, madame." 

So we sat there for an hour and listened to the English- 
woman's singing. She had a frightful voice, and such a style ! 
I never heard anybody sing like that 

I indignantly recalled to mind Faccioti, Tosti, and Creschi. 

The walls of our waiting-room were covered with portraits 
of well-known artistes, with the most affectionate inscrip- 
tions underneath. 

Four o'clock struck at last That Englishwoman de- 
parted. 

I began to tremble, and my strength oozed out of me. 

Wartel beckoned to me to go in. 

I did not understand. 

" Come in, come in, mademoiselle ! " 

So in I went, followed by my two chaperons. I asked 
them to go back into the waiting-room, for they made me 
nervous, and I was really frightenea 

Wartel was an old man, but the accompanist youthful 

" Can you read music ? " 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

" What can you sing ? " 

" I can't sing any song, Monsieur, but I can sing a scale 
or an exercise." 

"Take an exercise, Monsieur" (to the accompanist) 
" What is your voice ? Soprano ? " 

" No, Monsieur, contralto." 



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PARIS, 1876. 139 

" Well, we shall see." 

Wartel, remaining seated in his arm-chair, signed to me to 
begin. So I attacked an exercise, trembling at hrst and then 
infuriated, but at my ease by the time it was ended, for I did 
not take my eyes ofi' the masters immensely long face. It is a 
remarkable face. 

" Oh," he said, " yours is more of a mezzo-soprano. Its pitch 
will rise." 

" What is your opinion, Monsieur ? " said the two ladies 
coming in. 

" She has some voice, but of course you will understand 
that she will have to work very hard. Her voice is very 
young as yet, but it will grow, and it will develop pari jmhzu 
with the young lady herself. There is good material, there is 
good compass, but she must work." 

"Then you think, Monsieur, that it is worth while to 
cultivate it ? " 

" Yes, yes, if she works." 

" Her voice will be a good one ? " asked Madame M 

" It will be a good one," replied the man coolly, in his off- 
hand and reticent way. " But it must be developed, pitched, 
practised, and of course all that means business." 

" I sang badly," I got out at last, " I was nervous." 

"Ah, well, Mademoiselle, of course you must get accustomed 
to control that nervousness ; it would be entirely out of place 
on the stage." 

But I was delighted with what he said. It was an im- 
mense deal to say to a poor girl who would not bring him any 
profit 

Accustomed as I am to flattery, the man's grave and 
magisterial way of treatment seemed chilly, but I divined that 
he was satisfied. 

He had said, " There is good material, you must work 
hard." That is splendid to begin with. 

All this time the accompanist was eyeing me all over, 
minutely examining my figure, arms, hands, and face. I 
lowered my eyes and reddened as I asked the ladies to go back 
to the other room. 

Wartel sat down, and I stood in front of his arm-chair. 

" Have you taken lessons ? " 

" No, Mxmsieur, never ; at least, only ten lessons." 

" Yes, you must work. . . . Can you sing a ballad ? " 

" I know a Neapolitan song, but I have not the music with 
me." 

" Mignon / " cried my aunt from the other room. 



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140 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" Good. Sing Migiion." 

While I was singing a slight look of surprise appeared on 
Wartel's face, which had been at first merely attentive ; then 
he looked astonished, and at last relaxed sufficiently to 
bend his head to the time, smile pleasantly, and join in 
himself. 

" H — m — m — m ! " said the accompanist. 

" Yes, yes," nodded the maestro. 

I sang on, though very nervous. 

" Do keep still ; don't move ; breathe deeply ! " 

" Well, Monsieur ? " we three chorused. 

" Ah, that is very nice. Let her do a " (Oh, bother 

it, I have forgotten the word.) 

The accompanist made me do the , the name of it 

doesn't matter ; he made me run over all my notes. 

" Up to *i" he said to the old gentleman. 

" Yes, it is a mezzo-soprano ; all the better, all the better 
for the stage." 

I was still standing. 

" Sit down, Mademoiselle," said the accompanist, measuring 
me from head to foot. 

So I sat down on the edge of the sofa. 

" Well, Mademoiselle," said the severe Wartel, " you must 
work hard and you will succeed." 

He made several observations, in that impassive way of his, 
about the stage, singing, and study. 

" How long will it take before her voice is formed ? " asked 
Madame M . 

" Of course, Madame, you will understand that that depends 
on the student herself. Those who are clever take less time 
than others." 

"That child has quite as much ability as she need 
have." 

" Really ? All the better. It will be easier for her." 

n But how long will it take ? 

" To form her voice properly, to render it perfect, three 
years. . . . Yes, three years of hard work. Quite three 
years ! " 

I was holding my tongue and vowing vengeance 
against that horrid accompanist He looked as if he was 
thinking, "That girl is well-grown. She is pretty. What 
fun ! " 

After a few more remarks, we got up to go. Wartel 
remained seated, but held out his hand to me kindly. I bit 
my lips. 



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PARIS, 1876. 141 

" Look here," I said, when we reached the door, " let us go 
back and tell him the truth." 

My aunt proffered her card. We went back laughing, in 
high spirits. I told the severe mamtro the trick I had played 
him. 

I shall never forget the accompanist's face when he heard 
it Revenge is sweet 

" If you had talked a little more," said Wartel, " I should 
have known you for a Russian." 

" Yes, Monsieur," said I, " I knew you would. That is why 
I didn't talk much." 

The two ladies explained how I had wished to' learn the 
truth from his famous lips. " It is just what I told you, 
ladies ; she has a voice, she must have talent too." 

"I mean to have talent, Monsieur; in fact, I have some 
already. You shall see." 

I was so delighted that I agreed to walk all the way to the 
Grand Hotel 

" Set your mind at ease, my dear," said the countess, " I 
watched the professor's face from the other room. When you 
sang Mignon he was really surprised, wasn't he, Madame ? 
He hummed it himself— just fancy a man like him doing so ! 
— with a little Italian before him whom he was prepared to 
criticise as severely as he could." .... 

We dined together. I was in high spirits, -and showed 
myself as I really am. All my whims and crotchets came 
out, all my ambitions and hopes. 

After dinner we lingered for some time on the step in 
front of the door to enjoy the fresh evening air and the sight 
of the countless numbers of people who came and went 
through the courtyard. 

I must study under Wartel. And Rome ? 

We will see about it. 

It is getting late. I will tell it all to-morrow. 

Sunday, July \§th. — When I think about the good 

fortune of Mademoiselle K , Princess de S , all my 

worst feelings revive in me. I am envious ! 

That gin, she was nothing at all at Nice, with her vulgar 
red cheeks and big Moldavian nose ! 

Of course, she is good looking, but it is a style of beauty 
that I should like to nave in a lady's maid in some outlandish 
costume, a woman to put my boots on, and to fan me with a 
large fan when I am hot iNow she is a queen, made queen 
in a critical moment, such a moment as would be invaluable 



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142 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

to ambitious girls. Certainly, her place in history is settled. 
What about ine ! 

Tuesday, July ISth. — I have had some very extraordinary 
experiences to-day. We paid a visit to the celebrated 
clairvoyant, Alexis. 

He seldom gives consultations now except on the subject 
of health. 

We were ushered into a half-darkened room, and as 

soon as Madame M had said " We have not come 

for a medical consultation," the physician went away, 
leaving us alone with the man who was lying in a 
trance. 

The fact that it was a man that was lying there, and the 
absence of anything that looked like imposture, made me 
incredulous. 

We have not come for a medical consultation," said 
Madame M , putting my hand into Alexis*. 

" Ah ! " said he, his eyes half closed and glazed like those 
of a corpse, " But meanwhile, I may tell you your little friend 
is veiy unwell" 

" Oh," I cried out, frightened, and I was just going to tell 
him not to say anything about that, for fear of what I might 
hear, only before I could speak he had diagnosed my ailment, 
which is laryngitis, something chronic. But my lungs are 
very strong, and that has savea me. 

" You had magnificent lungs," said Alexis sympathetically. 
"Just now they are overworked. You must be careful." 

I ought to have written it down ; I can't remember all 
those details about the bronchi and the larynx. I will go 
back and get them to-morrow. 

"I have come to consult you, Monsieur, about this per- 
son," said I, and handed him a sealed envelope containing the 
Cardinal's photograph. 

Before I write down here all the extraordinary things that 
happened, let it be understood that there was nothing in my 
appearance which could at all indicate that I was concerning 
myself about a Cardinal. I hadn't breathed a word of it to 
any one. Besides, what likelihood was there of a young 
Russian lady of fashion going to consult a clairvoyant about 
the Pope, the Cardinal, the Devil ? 

Alexis concentrated his thoughts and bethought himself. 
I grew impatient 

" I can see him," he said at last. 

" Where is he ? " 



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PARIS, 1876. 143 

" In a great citv, in Italy ; he is in a palace, surrounded 
by many people ; he is a young man. . . . No ! It is his im- 
pressive face that deceived me. He is grey-headed. ... He 
is in uniform. ... He is a man over sixty." 

I, who had been snatching the words from his mouth with 
increasing eagerness, felt sudaenly chilled. 

" What kmd of uniform ? " I asked. 

" It is rather strange. ... he is not in the army." 

" No, that is quite true." 

" Very well, tnen what uniform is it ? " 

" A strange one ; not of our country. ... it is. . ." 

"It is . . . well?" 

" It is an ecclesiastical vestment . . . wait a moment. . . . 
He occupies an elevated place, he bears rule over others, he is 
a bishop. ... No ! a cardinal." 

I started up, and flung mv slippers to the other end of the 
room. Madame de M shook with laughter at my excite- 
ment. 

" A cardinal ? " I repeated. 

"Yes." 

" What is he thinking about ? " 

" Something very serious. He is much engrossed by 
it." 

Alexis* slowness, and his seeming difficulty in uttering the 
words, made me nervous. 

" Come," said I, " try and see who is with him ? What does 
he say ? " 

" He is with two young men ... in the army, two young 
men whom he often sees, who belong to the palace." 

I always used at the Saturday receptions to see two young 
soldiers who were in the Pope's retinue. 

" He is talking to them, ' continued Alexis, " he is talking 
in a strange language. . . . Italian." 

" Italian ? " 

" Ah, he is very learned, he knows nearly all the languages 
of Europe." 

" Can you see him now ? " 

" Yes, 1 can. Those people about him also belong to the 
Church. There is one, very tall and spare, in spectacles, who 
is going up to him and speaking in a low voice. He is very 
short-sighted. He is obliged to go quite close to an object to 
see it." 

Oh, my word ! that is the man whose name I always for- 
get. He is very well known at Rome. It was he who talked 
about me at that dinner at the Villa Mattel 



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144 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" What is the Cardinal doing ? " I asked. " What was he 
doing a little while ago ? Whom did he see last ?" 

" Yesterday. . . yesterday there was a great gathering 
at his house. . . Churchmen. . . all ! Yes, they dis- 
cussed a serious, a very serious matter, on Monday, yes- 
terday. He is very much worried, for the discussion was 
about . . ." 

"About what?" 

" They have been discussing, working. . . . they 
want. . . ' 

" They want what ? Look again ! " 

" They want to make him. . . . Pope ! " 

" Oh. . . . ! " 

The tone in which he said it, the clairvoyant's astonish- 
ment, the very words themselves, electrified me. The ground 
went from under mv feet I took oft' my hat, tangling my 
curls, taking out the pins and sending them spinning into 
the middle of the room. 

" Pope ! " cried I to myself 

" Yes, Pope," repeated Alexis. " But there are great 
difficulties in the way. . . He is not the man who has the best 
chance." 

"But will he be Pope?" 

" I do not read the future." 

" Oh, Monsieur, do try, you can . . . come ! " 

" No, no, I do not see the future ! I cannot see into 
it?" 

" Who is the cardinal ? What is his name ? Can't you 
make out from his surroundings, from what people say to 
him?" 

" A. . . wait a bit. Ah ! " said he, " the picture of him 
that I see is destitute of vitality, and you are so restless that 
you take all the strength out of me ; your nerves give electric 
shocks to mine. Do be quieter ! " 

" Very well," said I, " but you say things which make me 
jump. Now then, what is the Cardinal's name ? " 

He pressed his hand on his forehead, and began to sniff at 
the envelope. It was grey and of extra thickness. 

"A !" 

I had nothing more to take off ; I fell backwards in a heap 
into my arm-chair. 

" Is he thinking about me ? " 

" A little. . . . and not favourably. He is against you. 
He is dissatisfied in some way. I do not quite see how. . . . 
on some political grounds." 



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PARIS, 1876. 145 

" Political grounds ? " 

" Just so." 

" But will he be Pope ? " 

" I don't know. The French party will fall to pieces. I 
mean there is so small a chance of one of their nominees 
being elected. Oh, hardly any at all. . . . and so his party 
will be amalgamated with Antonelli's or the other Italian 
one." 

" Which of the two ? Which will be victorious ? • 

" I can't say until they set about it, but there is much 
opposition to A , the other will. . . ." 

" Will they soon set it going ? " 

" I can't telL The present rope is still there. They can't 
kill him. The Pope must live. . . ." 

" Will Antonelli live long ? " 

Alexis shook his head. 

"Is he ill?" 

" Very much so." 

" What is the matter with him ? " 

"He has something the matter with his legs. He has 

fout, and yesterday, no, it was the day before yesterday, he 
ad a severe attack. He has decomposition 01 the blood — 
but I cannot go into that with a lady. . . ." 

" It's quite unnecessary." 

"Don't be so restless," he said, "you tire me. Think 
quietly, I cannot keep up with you. . . . 

His hand trembled, and I shook all over. I let it go, and 
became calm. 

"Take this," I said, giving him Pietro's letter sealed up 
in an envelope exactly like the other. 

He took it, and as before pressed it to his heart and 
forehead. 

" Ah ! " said he, " this one is younger, very young. This 
letter was written some time ago. It was written at Rome. 
Since then the writer has changed his residence. In Italy, 
still. . . . but it is not Rome. ... no, there is the sea. . . . 
This man is in the country. . . . out in the open country, 
Oh, he has left Rome since yesterday ; certainly not more 
than twenty-four hours ago. TTiis man is in some way con- 
nected with the Pope, I see him behind the Pope. . . . There 

is a link between him and A , there is a tie of near 

kindred between them." 

" But what sort of man is he ? what's his disposition ? what 
does he think about ? " 

" His is a strange nature. . . . reserved. . . . 8ombre t 
L 2 



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146 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

ambitious. . . . His thoughts turn to you constantly. . . . 
but he thinks most of gaining his ends. . . . He is 
ambitious." 

" Does he love me ? " 

" Very much. Still it is a curious, an unhappy nature. 
He is ambitious." 

" Then he can't love me." 

" Yes, he does ! but in him love and ambition go together. 
He neefls you" 

" Tell me more about his disposition." 

" He is just the opposite of you," said Alexis, " although 
just as nervous." 

" Does he visit the Cardinal ? " 

" No, they are not on good terms. The Cardinal has 
been estranged from him for some time, for political 
reasons." 

I often remember what Pietro told me " my uncle 
wouldn't mind the Caccia Club and the volunteers ; what are 
they to him ? There are political reasons at the bottom of 
his animosity." 

" He is his near relative," went on Alexis. " The Cardinal 
is dissatisfied with him." 

" Haven't they seen each other lately ? " 

" Wait a moment ! " You think of too many things at 
once. These are difficult questions. I am mixing up this 
note with that other one ! They have been in the same 
envelope ! " 

" It was true. They were in the same envelope yes- 
terday." 

" Bo try and see, Monsieur ! " 

" I see now. They saw each other two days ago, but they 
were not alone. . . . There is a lady with him." 

" Is she young ? " 

" No, an old lady. His mother." 

" What did they talk about ? " 

" Not very openlv about anything. They felt embarrassed. 
They talked vaguely, and hardly said anything about that 
marriage." 

" What marriage ? " 

" Between you and him." 

" Who mentioned it ? " 

" They did. Antonelli does not speak of it, but he lets 
other people do so. . . He, himself, is against it, and has been 
from the very first. Just now they regard the idea rather 
more favourably." 



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PARIS, 1876. 147 

' But what are the young man's ideas ? " 

" He knows what he wants. He would like to marry 
you . . . but Antonelli will not let him. However, he is less 
hostile to you within the last day or two." 

Madame M— : — was dreadmlly in my way, but I went 
on manfully, though my spirits had fallen to the very lowest 
ebb. 

"If that man is only thinking of his own ends, he 
evidently can't care about me." 

"Oh yes he does. I told you so. If you were once 
united to him, you and his ambition would march in 
step." 

" Then he does love me ? " 

" Very much." 

" Since when ? " 

" You are too restless, you tire me ; your questions are 
too hard. . . I can't see it." 

" Oh, do try, do ! " 

" I can't. . . . Has he loved you long ? I can't see 
that." 

" What is the connection between him and A ? " 

" He is a near relative. . . " 

' Has A any intentions as regards the young 

man ? " 

" Oh yes. But there are political differences between 
them. But things are going more smoothly now. 

" You sav that A is against me ? " 

" Strongly. He does not wish this marriage to take place, 
for religious reasons. But he is beginning to soften. . . . 
just a little. . . It all depends on political questions. . . I 
told you that some time ago there was open hostility between 

A and the young man. A was opposed to him at 

all points." 

Well, what do you think of that, you who call all such 
things quackery ? If it is quackery, it certainly produces ex- 
traordinary results. I have written it down exactly as it 
occurred. I may have left out a little here and there, but I 
have added notning at all. Well now, don't you think it 
astonishing ? Don't you think it strange ? 

Aunt pretended she didn't believe it, because she is so 
angry with the Cardinal. She began a string of commonplaces 
to Alexis without any object whatever, which irritated me 
greatly, because I knew perfectly well she wasn't thinking of 
what she was saying one bit. 



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148 MARIE BASHKIRT8EFF. 

I am as wretched to-day as I was happy yesterday. 

Saturday, July 22nd. — Finding that I did not come 

to Russia, I telegraphed to mamma. She wrote to me 

to say that he and L are my best friends. It is quite 

time. I don't think any more about Pietro. He isn't worth 
it. Thank God I didn't love him ! 

Until the day before yesterday I used to pray every night 
that God would keep him for me and make me victorious. 
I don't say anything more about it in my prayers now. 
Besides, God knows that I intend to have my revenge, 
even though I don't pray for it. fVengeance is not a 
Christian sentiment, but it is a noble one for all that. 
It is all very well for plebeians to forgive injuries. 
Besides, people only forget things when they can't help 
themselvesj 

Sunday, July 23rd. — Rome. . . . Paris. . . . The stage, 
singing, painting ! 

No. Russia before everything else. That is the basis of 
all. Heigh-ho ! Since I am setting up as a philosopher, let 
me reason the matter out in a fit anct proper manner. No 
imaginative will-o'-the-wisp shall delude me from the right 
path. 

Russia first ! I pray God to help me. I have written to 
mamma. I am heart free, and up to my eyes in work. Oh, 
if God will only help me, all will go well ! 

Virgin Mary, pray for me ! 

Thursday, July 27th. — We left Paris yesterday at seven 
in the morning. 

1 whiled away the time on the journey with giving a 
history lesson to Chocolat. Thanks to me, the young beggar 
has some idea of the ancient Greeks, Rome unaer the kings, 
then Rome developing through the Republic into the Roman 
empire like France. He also knows something of the history 
of France from the king's accession up to the time that his 
head was cut off. 

I explained all about the different political parties as 
they are now, and gave him all the facts. He even knows 
what a deputy is. After I had told him all, I began asking 
questions. 

And when I had done, I asked him what party he belonged 
to, and the rascal answered — 

"lama Bonapartist ! " 



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BERLIN, 1876. 149 

This is how he sums up what I taught him : " The last king 
was Louis XVI. He was very good, but the Republicans cut off 
his head. The Republicans are the people wno only want to 
get money and honours. They also oeheaded his wife, Marie 
Antoinette, and made a Republic instead. Then France 
was very wretched, and there was a man born in Corsica 
who was Napoleon Bonaparte. He was so clever and brave 
that they made him colonel and then general. Then he 
conauered the whole world, and the Frencn liked him very 
mucn. But when he went to Russia he forgot to take 
the soldiers' great-coats, and they were very wretched be- 
cause of the cold ; and the Russians burned Moscow. Then 
Napoleon, who was already Emperor, went back to France ; 
but because he was unlucky, the French didn't like 
him any more, because they only like those who are lucky. 
And all the other kings wanted to be revenged, so they 
said he must abdicate. Then he went to the island of 
Elba, then he came back to Paris for a hundred days ; after 
that they chased him. Then he saw an English ship and 
asked them to save him ; and they took him on board and 
made him prisoner, and took him to St. Helena, where he 
died." 

There is a good deal of truth in what Chocolat says. 

We reached Berlin this morning. 

The town impressed me very favourably. The houses are 
very fine. 

I can't write anything to-day — it is too much 
trouble. 

*" Two feelings are common to lofty or affectionate natures. 
One is extreme susceptibility to other people's opinions, 
the other is extreme bitterness when those opinions are 
unjustj 

Friday, July 28th. — Berlin reminds me of Florence. 
No, stay ! It reminds me of Florence because I am there 
with my aunt, and because I am living the same sort of 
life. 

We went first of all to the museum. Whether it 
was from ignorance or from prejudice I know not, but I 
was <juite unprepared to find anything of the kind in 
Prussia 

As usual, the sculpture fascinated me most ; I seem to 
have an extra sense, a special faculty for understanding 
statues. 



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150 MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

In the large hall there is a statue which I thought at first 
was an Atalanta, owing to a pair of sandals which I took 
as a criterion. The inscription said it was a Psyche. It 
is all the same, however, a remarkable piece of sculpture, 
both for beauty and naturalness. 

After looking at the Greek casts, we passed on. My eyes 
and head were already tired, and I noticed nothing in 
the Egyptian section but those hurried flying lines which 
remind me of the ripples made in water wlien you throw 
something in. 

There is nothing more trying than to go about with a 
person who is bored by what interests you. My aunt hurried 
on, tired and grumbling. It is true we have been on foot for 
two hours. 

I was much interested in the historical museum of 
miniatures and statues, as well as in the early engravings 
and miniature portraits. I am passionately fond of those 
sort of things; and in looking at such portraits my im- 
agination goes wandering off ever so far, into all epochs ; 

it invents characters, aaventures, dramas Enough, 

however. 

Then the pictures. 

We have reached the time when painting has attained per- 
fection — reached the ideal of art. 

The old painters began by hard lines and colours that 
were too violent and not well united ; they arrived at feeble- 
ness, bordering on confusion. There never has been a faithful 
copy of Nature, whatever they may say and write to the 
contrary. 

■Let us ignore all art -between the early masters and modern 
art* and consider these two only. 

Harshness, colours that dazzle you, rudely-drawn lines, are 
the characteristics of the first 

Softened tints, shades so harmonised as to lose much 
of their relief, a want of lines, are characteristics of the 
second. 

What we now want is to take up, with the end of the 
brush, so to speak, the too striking colours from the old pic- 
tures of the early masters and mix them with the insipidities 
of the moderns. Then you will have perfection. 

There is also that latest style of painting which con- 
sists of painting by patches. It is a grave mistake, 
although oy means of it one may produce some striking 
effects. 

* By modern, I mean here Raphael, Titian, and the other great masters. 



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BERLIN, 1876. 151 

In the new style of pictures, tangible objects — furniture, 
for instance, and houses or churches — are not clearly defined. 
Precise delineation is held in contempt, and a kind of dis- 
integration of line is the result. There is too much stumping 
done, even without using a stump at all, the result being 
that the figures do not stand out from the background, and 
seem as lifeless as the surrounding objects, which latter, 
lacking in precision of form, do not seem to be altogether 
fixed and motionlessj 

Very well, my dear, since you know all about perfection 
.... Never mind, I am going to work hard, and, what 
is more, I am going to succeea ! 

I came in extremely tired, after having bought thirty-two 
English books, some of them translations rrom the best 
German writers. 

" A library already ! " cried my aunt in alarm. 
fThe more I read, the more I want to read ; and the more 
I learn, the more there is to learn. I don't make this remark 
in imitation of some ancient sage or other. I really feel 
what I say.j 

I am aeep in Faust. I am sitting before an old-fashioned 
German deslc, with books, manuscript-books, and rolls of 
paper before me 

Where is the devil ? Where is Marguerite ? Alas ! the 
devil is always with me. My mad vanity is the devil O 
fruitless ambition ! Useless aspiration towards an unknown 
goaD 

I have the most profound objection to the happy mean. 
What I want is either a life in the very thick of the fight, 
or absolute reposej 

I don't quite see that it is relevant, but I certainly 

don't love A Not only I do not love him, but 1 

don't think of him any more. All that seems a mere 
dream. 

But Rome attracts me ; it is the only nlace where 
I shall be able to study. Rome — its noise ana its silence, 
its dissipation and its dreams, its light and shadow .... 
stay a moment : light and shadow ; yes, that's right — where 

there's light there's shadow, and vice versd Oh no ; 

I am quibbling, that's certain. At any rate, all I want is 
there ! I want to go to Rome — the only place on earth which 
suits me — the only place I love for itself 

The Berlin Museum is a very fine and valuable one ; but 
is it due to Germany ? No ; to Greece, Egypt, Rome ! 

After contemplating all these antiquities, I got into the 



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152 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

carriage deeply disgusted with our arts, our architecture, our 
manners ana customs. 

If people would take the trouble to analyse what they 
feel when they leave places like the Berlin Museum, they 
would find that they thought just as I do. But why wish to 
identify oneself with other people ? 

r While disliking the materialism and the cut-and-driedness 
of the Germans, we must acknowledge their good qualities ; 
they are very polite, very obliging. 

What I especially like about them is their devotion to 
their Prince and their national traditions ; they are untainted 
by the virus of so-called Republicanism. 

There is nothing to equal the ideal republic; but 
republics are like ermine — the smallest stain is fatal 
And where will you find a republic which knows not a 
stain ? 

No ; I really couldn't stand this life. It's a horrid country. 
There are fine houses, handsome streets ; but nothing what- 
ever for the soul or imagination to feed on. The smallest 
^wn in Italy is worth all Berlin. 

My aunt wants to know how many pages I have written. 
She " should think I have written a hundred." 

I don't wonder; for I seem to be writing "while I think 
and muse, and read ; and then I write two words. Thus it 
goes on all day. 

It seems strange that, since I became a Bonapartist 
I should understand the advantages of a republic so 
welL 

Yes ; truly a republic is the only happy form of govern- 
ment But a republic is impossible m France. Besides, the 
French Republic is founded in blood and mud. Come now, 
why should I think about republics ? I have been thinking 
of them for nearly a week. Well, then, has France been 
worse off since becoming a republic ? 

No, quite the contrary. What then ? 

And how about the abuses? There are plenty every- 
where. 

What is really wanted is a good Liberal constitution, with 
a man at the head to hold the reins loosely and be a sort of 
imposing figure-head, which does not really increase the 
value of the shop, but inspires confidence and is agreeable to 
look at Very well, a president can't be that. 

But enough for this evening. Some other time, when I 
know more about it, I will write more too. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 153 

1" Sunday, July 30th. — There is nothing more depressing 
than Berlin. There is a stamp of simplicity about tne city, 
but it is a hideous disgusting simplicity. All the monuments 
which encumber the bridges, streets, and gardens look idiotic 
and out of place. Berlin reminds me of a picture moved by 
clock-work. At certain fixed moments the soldiers come 
out of barracks, the ferrymen begin to row, and the ladies 
in hood-bonnets pass by holding ugly children by the 
Jhand. 

On the eve of entering Russia and remaining there without 
mamma or my aunt, my spirits are sinking, and I feel afraid. 
I wish I didn't vex my aunt so much. 

The lawsuit, and tne uncertainty of it all ... . And then, 
and then — I don't know, but I am afraid I shan't effect any 
change ! 

The thought of having to begin again my old life when I 
go back, only then without hope of change, without the 
prospect of " Russia," which used to console and strengthen 
me. .... O God, have pity on me ; consider the state of my 
soul, and be merciful ! 

We leave Berlin in two hours. To-morrow I shall be in 

Russia. No, I am strong ; I won't give way Only, if I 

should be going in vain ? That's the worst of it We ought 
never to despair beforehand. Oh, if only some one could 
know what I feel ! 

Monday, July Slst. — My aunt, I, Chocolat, and Amalia, 
arrived at the station yesterday evening at ten o'clock I was 
feeling pretty wretched, but cheered up at the sight of our com- 

f>artment, as comfortable as a little room, especially as it was 
ighted by gas, and we were sure of being alone. As there 
were only tnree places, the servants sat side by side. Con- 
sidering that we were on the point of separating, I should 
have liked a talk with aunt, but I am never effusive when I 
feel deeply, and she held her peace for fear of making me 
cross or worrying me if she talked. So that I haa no 
choice but to bury myself in Octave Feuillet's Mariage 
dans le Monde. A wholesome work, upon my word, which 
gave me the deepest horror of adultery and all its filthi- 
ness. 

Pondering these reflections, I went to sleep, and only woke 
within three nours of the frontier, at Eydtkiinnen, which we 
reached towards four o'clock. 

The country is flat, the trees green and bushy. Although 

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154 MABLE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

the foliage is fresh and vigorous, it is yet* slightly depressing 
after the luxuriance of the South. 

We were shown to an inn called the H6tel de Russie, and 
established ourselves in two little rooms with whitewashed 
ceilings, unstained wooden floors, and simple wooden furniture 
to match. 

Thanks to my dressing-case, I was able at once to get a 
bath and to dress properly ; and after having partaken of eggs 
and milk served by a stout blooming German girl, I am 
beginning to write. 

There is a certain fascination in sitting in this bare little 
room, in a white dressing-gown, with my lovely bare arms 
and golden hair. 

I nave just been looking out of window. The immensity 
of the view tires one's eyes. The absence of hills and general 
flatness give one the impression of being on the top of a 
mountain, overlooking the whole world. 

Chocolat is ridiculously vain. 

" You're my courier," said I. " How many languages can 
you speak ? " 

The youngster said he could speak French, Italian, 
Ni<;ois, and a little Russian; and that, if I would teach him, 
he would be able to speak German too. 

He came to me in tears, while Amalia roared with 
laughter, to complain that the landlord had assigned him a 
bed in a room already inhabited by a Jew. I looked very 
serious, and pretended that I thought it auite in the ordinary 
course of things that he should sleep witn a Jew. But poor 
Chocolat howled so much that I began laughing, and consoled 
him by making him read several pages of a universal history 
that I had bought on purpose for nim. 

I like this little black boy. He is a real live plaything. 
I teach him, I train him for service, I encourage him in the 
nonsense he talks. He is my pet dog and doll rolled 
into one. 

v Life at Eydtktihnen has its charms. I am devoting 
myself to young Chocolate education. He is getting on 
famously in morals and philosophy. 

This evening I made him go through his Scripture 
history. When he got to the place where Judas is on the 
point of betraying Jesus, he told me in a pathetic way how 
the said Judas sold the Lord for thirty pieces of silver, and 
pointed Him out to the guards by a kiss. 

" Look here, Chocolat," said I, " would you sell me to my 
enemies for thirty francs ? " 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 155 

" No," said Chocolat, looking down. 

" Would you for sixty ? " 

" No, I wouldn't." 

" For a hundred and twenty ? " 

" No." 

" Well, for a thousand francs ? " I went on. 

" No, no," said Chocolat, fidgeting his monkey-like fingers 
on the edge of the table, looking down and shuffling his feet. 

" Well, but, Chocolat, suppose somebody offered you ten 
thousand ? " I persisted, affectionately. 

" No " 

" Good boy 3 But if they offered you a hundred thousand 

francs, would you then ? " I asked once more, to get my con- 
science clear. 

" No ; " said Chocolat, and his voice changed as he 
whispered, " I should want more " 

" WhatV I shouted. 

" I should want more." 

" Well then, my dear boy, you faithful young scape- 
grace, how much ? Tell me. Come, two millions ? three ? 
four?" 

" Five or six." 

" But, bless the boy," I cried, " isn't it just as bad to be a 
traitor for six million francs as for thirty ? " 

" Oh no," said he, " when you have got all that money. 
. . . the others couldn't do one any harm." 

So in utter disregard of all morality, I fell upon the sofa 
shouting with laughter, and Chocolat, hfghly pleased with the 
result, departed into the other room. 

Guess who cooked my dinner ? Amalia. I should have 
died of hunger if she had not roasted two chickens. As for 
thirst — well, they brought us some perfectly undrinkable 
Chateau Larose. 

It is really funny here ! Eydtkuhnen ! We shall soon see 
what Russia is like. 

Tuesday, August 1st — I should like to write a novel on 
Chivalry. The one I began is stowed away at the bottom of 
xay white box. 

My aunt and I are here in the blissful inn of Eydtkuhnen, 
awaiting my most honoured uncle's arrival. 

About half-past eight I got tired of being shut up in- 
doors, and went to meet the train myself. As I was told 
that I was in plenty of time, I took Amalia and went for a 
walk first. 



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156 MARIS BA3HKIRTSEFF. 

Eydtkiihnen has a charming promenade, well paved and 
shady, with pretty little well-kept nouses along the right hand 
side. It even boasts two cafSs and a kind of restaurant 
The engine whistle recalled me in the middle of my 
walk, and forgetting my little feet and high heels, I set 
off at a run across kitchen gardens, and neaps of stone 
and railway lines, hoping to get there in time — and in 
vain. 

What is my noble uncle about ? 

Wednesday, August 2nd. — As if I hadn't worries enough 
already, I find that my hair is coming out To lose your hair 
is a grief that no one can at all appreciate, unless they have 
gone through it themselves. 

Uncle fitienne sends a telegram from Konotop. He is 
only starting to-day. So we are in for another twenty-four 
hours of Eyatkuhnen ! There is nothing to see or hear but a 
grey sky, a cold wind, some Jews in the street outside, and 
now ana then the noise of a passing cart, and in fact noises of 
every kind by the yard. 

This evening aunt tried to make me talk about Rome. . . . 
I haven't cried since I don't know when, but I cried this 
evening, not from love, but at the recollection of our 
humiliating life at Nice ! 

Tliursday, August 3rd, and Friday, August 4th (July 
23rd Old Style.) — I went to meet the train at three 
o'clock yesterday, and by good luck my uncle was there this 
time. 

But he could only stay a quarter of an hour, for he had 
had the greatest difficulty to pass the Russian frontier at 
Wirballen without a passport, and he had pledged his word 
to an official at the Custom-house to come oack by the 
next train. 

Chocolat ran to fetch my aunt, for there were only a few 
minutes to spare. When she came we had scarcely time to 
exchange two words. As we went back to the inn, aunt,, in her 
anxiety about me, imagined that she had observed a certain 
kind of constraint in my uncle's manner, and threw out so 
many obscure hints, that I got depressed and uneasy too. I 
got into the carriage at last about midnight Aunt was 
crying, but I held my head very high to prevent any tears 
from falling. The guard gave the signal, and for the first 
time in my life I was quite alone ! 

I began to cry out loud, but don't think that I did not 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 157 

turn ray tears to good account I studied from Nature how 
we cry. 

"Look here, my dear," I said to myself, getting up, 
" enough of that." It was high time. I was in Russia. On 
getting out of the carriage I fell into the arms of my uncle, of 
two policemen, and two Custom-house officials. They treated 
me uke a princess, and did not even examine my luggage. 
The station is large ; the railway people are a fine set, and 
uncommonly civil Everything was so nice that I thought I 
was in Utopia. A common policeman here is better than an 
officer in France. 

I may as well remark here, that there is something to be 
said on behalf of our poor Emperor— people say that there is 
something aueer about his eyes Every one who wears a 
helmet — ana there are not a few at Wirballen — has the same 
sort of eyes. I don't know whether it is due to the weight 
of the helmet over the eyes, or to imitation. It may be 
imitation, because it is well known in France that all his 
soldiers had a look of Napoleon. 

They gave me a compartment to myself, and after I had 
talked over business and other matters with my uncle, 
I went to sleep, raging inwardly about my telegram to 
A . 

You can get a good lunch at the station refreshment- 
rooms, so I got out pretty often. 

I can't say that my fellow-countrymen roused any feeling 
in particular in me — nothing of the rapture I feel when I 
come affain to a country I have seen before. Still I felt very 
sympathetic towards them, and I began to feel very happy. 

And really you can't help being pleased; everything 
goes so smoothly, the people are so polite, and there is 
such a look of frankness, cordiality, and kind-heartedness in 
eve™ Russian. 

Uncle came and woke me up at ten o'clock this 
morning. 

The engine fires are fed with wood, and so we are spared 
the horrible griminess of coal smoke. I woke up quite 
fresh, and whiled away the day in chatting, sleeping, 
and looking out of window at our beautiful country, 
which is very flat, but recalls the Campagna about Rome. 

At half-past nine it was still fight. We had passed 
Gatchina, the former residence of Paul I, who was so 

gersecuted in the life- time of that wonderful mother of his. 
oon we reached Tzarskoe-Selo, and in twenty-live minutes 
were in Petersburg. 



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158 MARIE BA8RKIRT8EFF. 

I went to the Demouth Hotel with an uncle, a lady's maid, 
a negro boy, a quantity of luggage, and fifty roubles in my 
pocket 

I was having supper in my good-sized sitting-room — 
it has no carpet and a plain ceiling — when my uncle 
came in. 

" Do you know who is here with me ? " he asked. 

" No. Who ? " 

" Guess, Princess." 

" Oh, I can't/ 

" Paul Issayevitch. May he come in ? 

" Yes, let him." 

Issayevitch is here at Petersburg with the military 
Governor of Wilna, M. Albedinsky, who married the Emperor's 
old mistress. 

He had received the telegram I sent him before leaving 
Eydtkiihnen. As he could not get leave, he had told his 
friend, Coimt Mouravieff, to come and meet me. But 
the Count had all his trouble for nothing, for we passed 
Wilna at three o'clock in the morning, and I was happily 
asleep. 

Who will deny that I am kind-hearted, when I have 

said that I enjoyed myself this evening because I knew 

. that Issayevitch was pleased to see me ? Or is it selfishness ? 

I was glad to give another so much pleasure. At any rate, 
I have a knight to escort me about Petersburg. I am at 
Petersburg at last ! 

I haven't yet seen anything but dronlikis. The droshki 
is a one-seated vehicle on eight springs (like Binder's 
great carriages) drawn by one horse. I have caught a 
glimpse of the Cathedral of Kasan, with .a colonnade in 
the style of St. Peter's at Rome, and of numerous public- 
houses. 

T Everybody here is singing the praises of Princess Margaret 
— "so unaffected, so kindly!" Oh yes, nobody appreciates 
simplicity in an ordinary woman. You may be as unaffected 
and kincQy and amiable as you please, but if you are not a 
queen your inferiors will take liberties with you, and your 
equals will put you down as a " nice little thing," and will 
much prefer women who are neither the one nor the 
other. 

Oh, if I were a queen ! Wouldn't they adore me ! 
Wouldn't I be popular ! 

The Italian princess, with her husband and retinue, is still 
in Russia. They are at Kieff just now. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 159 

" The mother of all the Russian cities," as the great king 
Saint Waldemar called it after he had become Christian, ana 
had baptised half Russia in the Dnieper. 

Kieff is the richest town in the world in churches, 
convents, monks, and relics. The gems which these convents 
possess are something fabulous; they have cellars full of 
them, as in the Arabian Nights. 

I saw Kieff eight years ago, and I can still remember the 
subterranean passages, crammed with relics, which go right 
round the town, ana under all the streets, and which serve as 
means of commimication between the different convents. 
Thus you get miles of passages ornamented on both sides by 
tombs of saints. May I be pardoned for a bad thought .... 
but I really don't believe there were as many saints as all 
that! 

Sunday, August 6th. — Instead of going to see churches 
I slept late, and Nina came to fetch me to breakfast with 
her. Her parrot chattered, the children cried, and I sang. 
I almost imagined myself back at Nice. The three Graces 
went through the pouring rain, in a two-seated carriage, to 
see the Cathedral of Issakie, celebrated for its malachite 
and lapis-lazuli colonnade. These columns are extremely 
rich, but in bad taste, the green of the malachite and 
the blue of the lapis-lazuli jar. The paintings and 
mosaics are quite ideal, they are genuine figures of the 
Virgin, the saints and angels. The whole church is built 
of marble. The four fa9ades, with their granite columns, 
are fine, but do not harmonise with the gilded Byzantine 
dome. And, taken all together, the exterior gives you a 
rather painfiil impression, for the dome is too overpowering 
for the four small domes above the fa9ades, which would be 
beautiful by themselves. 

The profusion of gold and ornaments in the interior 
produces the happiest result. What is motley is har- 
monious and in the best taste, with the exception of 
the two lapis-lazuli columns, which would be splendid else- 
where. 

There was a popular wedding going on. The bridal couple 
were ugly, and we did not stop long to look at them. I do 
like the Russian people — simple, good, faithful, and frank. 
These men and women stop m front of every church and 
chapel, before every niche where there is an image, and cross 
themselves in the middle of the street, just as if they were at 
home. 

M 

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160 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

After having seen the Cathedral of Issakie, we went on to 
the Cathedral of Kasan. We saw another wedding, and the 
bride looked charming. This Cathedral is built in the style 
of St. Peter's at Rome, but the colonnade looks super- 
fluous : it does not seem to belong to the rest of the 
building, and it is too short, so that the semicircle is in- 
complete ; all this gives an odd and unfinished look to the 
whole. 

Further on is the statue of Catherine the Great on the 
Newsky. 

In front of the Senate, near the Winter Palace, which, it 
may be parenthetically remarked, is merely a great barrack, 
stands the statue of Peter the Great, one hand pointing to the 
Senate, the other to the Neva. The popular interpretation of 
this attitude is rather curious. They say that the Tzar points 
one hand to the Senate and the other to the river to indicate 
that it is better to be drowned in the Neva than to argue in 
the House. 

The chief thing to notice about Nicholas's statue is that it 
is not supported on the two hind legs and tail of the horse, 
that is, on three supports, but only on the two legs ; this 
singularity made me reflect in a melancholy way that, as 
the tail support is wanting, the Nihilists won't have so much 
to do. 

I dined alone with the three Graces, fitienne and Paul 
looking on. They tell me quite seriously that they are my 
retinue, and they irritate me beyond endurance. I wish 
only to be with Giro and Marie. 

It rains, and I have caught cold. I wrote to mamma : — 
" Petersburg is a muddy hole ! The paving is disgraceful, 
considering it is the metropolis ; you get so mghtfullyjolted. 
The Winter Palace is a barrack, and so is the Grand Tneatre. 
The cathedrals are magnificent, but barbaric and difficult to 
make out" 

Add to all that the climate, and there you are ! 

I tried to get up some excitement as I looked at 

Pietro A 's portrait ; but he does not seem handsome 

enough to make me forget that he is a sorry devil, a despic- 
able creature. 

I am not angry with him any longer, for I despise him too 
much, not for any personal insult, but for the way he lives, for 
his weakness. Stay, let me define this feeling. The weakness 
which stirs us to kindness and tenderness, which makes 
us forgive injuries, may be called weakness. But the weak- 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 161 

ness which incites us to base and mean actions is rightly 
cowardice. 

I expected I should miss my own people more than 
I do. i et I am not happy. This, however, is due rather 
to the presence about me of disagreeable and common- 
place people (my poor uncle, for instance, in spite of his 
?[ood looks) than to the absence of those wnom I am 
bnd of. 



our 
my 



Monday, August 7th, 1876 (July 26th).— " All 
originality is mediaeval," I wrote in the last book of 
journal 

Our? Whose? The Christians? Which is the truth? 
has the world been really regenerated ? Or has it gone on 
with the same morals tnat nave prevailed from the very 
first, under different exteriors merely, though always tending 
to amelioration ? 

The life of nations resembles a stream flowing slowly, 
sometimes over rocks, sometimes over sand, now between two 
mountains, now underground, and now across a sea and 
mingling with it, but emerging at the other end really the 
same, though it may have changed its name and even its 
course. But, whatever form ana direction it assumes, it is 
always pursuing the same end, an end which is fixed and 
unknown. 

Fixed by whom ? 

By God ? or by Nature ? If God is Nature, then we are 
but fools, for Nature has nothing to do with men and human 
interests. 

Philosophical lectures demonstrate the existence of a 
Supreme Being, by which they mean the mechanism of the 
universe. But do they demonstrate the existence of a God 
such as we picture to ourselves ? 

Nature has to do with the motion of the stars ; to look 
physically after our planet. But what about our mind and 
soul ? We must admit a God other than a mere vague per- 
sonification of a universal mechanism. 

Why must we ? 

At this point I was interrupted, and at present I have lost 
the thread. 

I have been to the post to get my photographs and a 
telegram from my father. He telegraphed to Berlin that it 
would be " a real pleasure " to him to see me. 

Finding Giro m bed I stopped with her for some time. A 
passing word set us off upon Rome. I told her all about my 

M 2 



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162 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFP. 

doings in that city with much animation. I only stopped 
talkmg to laugh, and Giro and Marie rolled over in their beds 
with laughing. 

An incomparable trio. I never laugh like that except with 
my Graces. 

Then by a sudden and perhaps natural reaction, I grew 
melancholy on the waj home. 

I came in at midnight with uncle and Nina. 

Petersburg gains upon you at night. I know nothing finer 
than the Neva, with its rows of lamps contrasting with the 
moonlight and the deep blue, almost grey, sky. Tne defects 
of houses, roads, and bridges are mellowed by the kindly 
shadows of night. The great wharfs stand out in all their 
majesty. The peak on the Admiralty seems to melt into the 
sky, and through a blue haze edged with light loom the dome 
and graceful outline of the cathedral of Issakie, looking itself 
like a floating cloud from heaven. 

I should like to be here in winter. 

Wednesday, August 9th (July 28th), 1876. I am with- 
out a sou. What a condition ! 

ICtienne is a most estimable man, but he always rubs 
all my most delicate feelings the wrong way. I got very 
angry this morning, but when we were at the Sapogenikoffs' 
half an hour after, I was laughing as if nothing had hap- 
pened. 

Dr. Tchernicheff was there, and I should have liked to 
ask him for a remedy for my hoarseness, only I hadn't any 
money, and this gentleman does nothing gratis. This is 
a most charming position to be in. But I won't cry out 
beforehand ; it is bad enough when it comes, without crying 
beforehand. 

At four o'clock Nina and the three Graces departed in a 
carriage for the Peterhoff' station, all the three dressed in 
white under long dust-cloaks. 

The train was just starting, and we got in, without tickets, 
under the protection of four guardsmen, doubtless fascinated 
by my white feather and my Graces' red heels. So there 
we were, Giro and I, like chargers at the sound of the 
military band, with our ears pricked up, our eyes bright, and 
full of spirits. . . . 

When I got home I found supper waiting, Uncle 
Etienne, and the money which Uncle Alexander sent me. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 163 

I ate the supper, got rid of my uncle, and concealed the 
money. 

Then, oddly enough, I felt depressed, conscious of a greafT 
void. I looked at myself in the glass ; my eyes looked as they 
did that last night at Rome. Heart and nead were filled with 
the remembrance. 

I shut my eyes, and that evening came back when he 
begged me to stop only one day longer. 

" Yes," I murmured, as if he haa been there, " I will stay 
for my love, my lover, my well-beloved ! I love you, I wish 
to love you. You do not deserve it, but what does it matter, 
it pleases me to love you." . . .. 

Then suddenly I took a few steps in my room, and began 
to weep before the glass. A few tears make me look rather 
beautiful, on the whole. 

Having worked myself up by a whim, I calmed down 
because I was tired, and began to write, laughing softly to 
myself. 

I often invent a hero, a romance, and a drama to myself 
like that, and then I laugh and cry over my imaginary scene 
as though it were real. — ' 

I am delighted with Petersburg, but one can't sleep here. 
It is daybreak already ; the nights are so short 

TJcursday, August 10th (July 29th), 1876.— To-night 
is a memorable one. I here give up looking upon the Duke 

of H as my cherished shadow. I have seen a portrait 

of the Grand Duke Vladimir at Bergamasco's house. I 
couldn't tear myself away from that portrait. 

No more perfect and entrancing beauty could be imagined. 
Giro and I raved about it together, and ended by kissing the 
portrait on the lips. Have you noticed how much pleasure a 
portrait's kiss gives ? 

It is the fashion to adore the Emperor and the Grand 
Dukes ; and we have done the same as all the other young 
ladies of the Institute ; but then they are all so absolutely 
handsome that there is nothing to wonder at in that. 
I brought away with my kiss from the picture a curious 
feeling of sadness, and something to dream about for a whole 
hour. I had been adoring the Duke when I ought to have 
been adoring a Russian Imperial Prince. It's silly, but one can't 
help that kmd of thing ; and then I always have looked upon 

H as my equal, as the man for me. 1 have forgotten him 

now. Who is going to be my idol ? Nobody. I shall look 
for fame, and simply a man. 



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164 MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 

My heart will overflow as it has done before, dropping its 
fulness as may happen along the dust of the road-side, without 
emptying this heart, so constantly replenished from generous 
springs tnat will never dry up. 

Where did you read that, young lady ? In my own mind, 
you pitiful reaaers ! 

So I am free. I love nobody, but am looking for some 
one to love. May it happen soon. Life without love is a 
bottle without wine. But for all that, the wine should be 
good. 

The lamp of my imagination is lit ; but shall I be more 
successful in my search than that dirty old madman called 
Diogenes ? 

Saturday, Auguxt 12th (July Slst). — Everything was 
ready ; Issayevitch had bidden me good-bye ; the Sapogeni- 
koffs had come with me to the station, when — oh, con- 
found it ! — money ran short ; we had miscalculated the fare. 
I was obliged to wait at Nina's house until seven o'clock in 
the evening, so that uncle might get me some money in 
town. 

At seven I departed, more or less humiliated by the 
accident ; but just as I was going off, I was very much pleased 
to see a dozen officers of the guard, followed by six soldiers 
in white uniforms, carrying flags. This brilliant escort had 
just taken down two officers who were going to Servia on a 
Government mission. Servia is perfectly draining Russia 
of her men ; for as the Emj>eror will not declare war, all 
Russia volunteers, and subscribes willingly, on behalf of the 
Servians. Nobody talks of anything else, and every one is 
loud in the praises of a Russian colonel and several officers 
who died really heroic deaths. I can't help feeling touched 
with pity for our countrymen thus coolly allowed to be 
hacked and butchered by those Turkish savages — a race 
without genius, without civilisation, without morals, and 
without renown. 

And to think that I cannot even subscribe ! 

About an hour before I reached my destination I threw 
my book aside, so as to get a good view of Moscow, our real 
capital, the city which is really and truly a Russian one. 
Petersburg is a German copy ; still, as the Russians have 
made the copy, it beats the Germans hollow. Here, however, 
everything is Russian, the architecture, the vehicles, the 
houses, the peasants by the road-side who watch the train 
pass, the little wooden bridge thrown across a stream, the 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 165 

very mud in the road is all Russian ; everything is open- 
hearted, simple, pious, and loyal. 

The churches, with their cupolas shaped and coloured like 
a green fig upside down, give one a favourable impression as 
one reaches the city. The porter who came to take our 
luggage took off his cap and greeted us like old friends, with 
a broad but respectful smile. 

The people here are equally free from French im- 
pudence and the stupid and heavy gravity of the 
Germans. 

A carriage was called, and as we drove to the hotel I 
looked out of the window the whole time. 

The air is cool, but damp and unhealthy, as at Petersburg. 
The city is very old ; and, judging by the extent of ground 
covered, the largest in Europe. The streets are paved with 
large irregular cobbles, and are themselves irregular, first up, 
then down, and all the time in and out among low-storeyed 
houses, often of one storey only, but airy and with large 
windows. The luxury of having plenty of space is so common 
that nobody takes any notice of it, and the heaping of 
several storeys on the top of each other is a thing unheard of 
here. 

The " Bazar-Slave " is an hotel like the Grand Hotel at 
Paris. You even find the great circular restaurant which you 
see from the first floor as from the gallery of a playhouse. 
But although it is perhaps not quite so luxurious as the 
Grand Hotel, the Bazar-Slave is infinitely more comfortable 
and infinitely cheaper — especially when you compare it with 
the Demouth hotel. 

The porters of the houses are clad in black jackets, 
trousers tucked into high boots up to their knees, and an 
astrakan cap. 

The various national costumes are rather conspicuous 
here. Everybody wears a characteristic dress. Those odious 
German jackets are not to be seen, and German sign- 
boards are still rarer, though I regret to say there are a 
few. 

When I chose my cab I was quite overcome — the cab- 
drivers beg vou to get in with so much earnestness that you 
are really afraid to choose one for fear of mortally offending the 
others. At last we got into a sort of phaeton, exceedingly 
narrow, and then started on a wild career. We flew along 
like the wind right through the middle of carriages, foot- 
passengers, over cobble paving and tramway lines, jolted at 
every step and often nearly shot out of the carriage. Uncle 



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166 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFR 

groaned with anxiety, and I laughed at him, at myself, at the 
frantic way we went along, at the wind which tossed my hair 
and burned my cheeks — in fact, I laughed at everything. 
And whenever we came to a church or chapel or niche for 
images, I devoutly crossed myself like those good folk in the 
street. 

I was disagreeably surprised to see women going bare- 
foot. 

I went into the Solodornikoff passage to buy a white 
frilling. I walked in with my head in the air, my hands 
hanging down, and a smiling face, just as if I were at home. I 
want to get on to-morrow, so I can't buy anything, because I 
have only just enough cash to take me to Uncle l£tienne's 
house. 

Catherine II/s triumphal arch is painted red, with green 
columns, and yellow ornamentation. Notwithstanding the 
startling colours, you can't help liking it Besides, it har- 
monises *well with the roofs of the houses and churches, 
which are nearly all of sheet iron, painted green or dark red. 
The ingenuousness of exterior decoration makes you feel the 
kindly simplicity of the Russian people, and gives you a 
feeling of great satisfaction. And the Nihilists are already 
undermining it — Mephistopheles seducing Margaret The 
propaganda does its deadly work, and when the day comes 
that these simple people, deceived and roused, rise in revolu- 
tion .... the result will be perfectly awful. For if the 
Russians are as gentle and obedient as sheep in times of peace 
and quietness, wnen they do rise they will be raving maniacs, 
demons of cruelty. 

At -present their love for the Emperor is still intense, 
thank God ! and so is their respect for religion. There is 
something touching in their devotion and loyalty. 

Perfect flocks of greypigeons inhabit the scjuare in front 
of the Grand Theatre. They are not a bit afraid of vehicles, 
and the wheels pass within a few inches without the pigeon's 

Euttingf itself out You know, the Russians don't eat these 
irds, because the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a 
dove. 

I am not going to see any sights this time. When I come 
back and have some money I shall go and see all the historic 
curiosities — to see Moscow is a good week's work. I have 
merely caught a glimpse of the Kremlin, for just as some one 
was pointing it out my attention was absorbed by a cab 
painted to look like malachite. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 167 

Amongst the names posted up in the list at the hotel I 
saw that of Princess Souwaroff. I immediately sent Chocolat 
to ask whether she would receive me, but he came back to 
say that the princess was out and would not be back till seven 
o'clock. 

Uncle fitienne is asleep, and I am writing in the dining- 
room. 

On the back of the breakfast menu was printed a desperate 
appeal to the Russian people and clergy on behalf of the Slav 
Committee of Moscow. A copy was given me this morning 
when I arrived. I shall keep it. 

This appeal has stirred a chord in me. Why don't they 
go to the Tzar and ask him to declare war ? If the whole 
nation were to rise and go and fall before the knees of 
the Emperor and beseech him to go and help his bro- 
thers given over to the rage of savages, who would dare to 
refuse ? 

But then there are the Nihilists, that's the worst of it. If 
once the troops were out of the way, they would make a rising 
with all kinds of convicts and blackguards, and would have a 
little Commune all to themselves — just to make a beginning. 

To think of being here, in the very heart of this lovely 
and promising country, and to feel threatened with hor- 
rors like that ! I would fain take it up in my arms and 
carry it far off', like a child whose eyes we cover and 
whose ears we stop, lest it should see and hear ribaldry and 
vileness. 

Oh, how could I kiss him on the face, I the first! O 
foolish accursed creature ! Ah, I cry and shiver with rage ! 
Turpis, execrabilis ! 

He thought it came quite natural to me, that it wasn't 
the first time, that it was a regular habit ! Vatican and 
Kremlin ! I am suffocated with rage and shame ! 

A cup of broth, a hot calatch, and some fresh caviare, were 
the first courses of an incomparable dinner. Calatch is a kind 
of bread, but you have to go to Moscow to make its acquaint- 
ance properly, and at Moscow calatch is almost as celeorated 
as the Kremlin. As one helping of assitrine I received two 
huge slices, which would be looked upon abroad as enough for 
four helps. Of course I didn't eat it all Besides that I had 
a veal cutlet fifty square centimetres in size, with green peas 
and potatoes ; and a whole chicken. And a saucer of caviare 
is considered " half a help." 



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168 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

iStienne laughed, and told the servant that in Italy that 
would be considered enough for four people. Without mov- 
ing a muscle or altering a line of his face, the man, who 
was tall and thin, like Gianetto Doria, and impassive as an 
Englishman, replied that that accounted for the smallness and 
spareness of the Italians. And the Russians are so strong, he 
added, because they like to feed well. With that remark the 
impassive brute condescended to smile, and went off with 
about as much animation as a wooden dolL 

HSut quantity is not the only merit of the food here, it is of 
the finest quality too. When you have had a good meal your 
spirits rise, and when you are in good spirits you look upon 
happiness with more complacency, and misfortune in a philo- 
sophical spirit, and you are benevolently disposed towards 
your fellow-creatures. Gluttony is monstrous in a woman, but 
a little epicureanism is as desirable as wit and good dressing ; 
besides, a simple and delicate diet maintains health and con- 
sequently youth, the clearness of the skin, and the round- 
ness of contour. Take me, for instance. Marie Sapogenikoff 
was quite right when she said that I ought to have had a 
much prettier face to match a body like mine, and yet I am 
by no means ugly. When I think of what I shall be when I 
am twenty, I smack my lips. . . When I was thirteen I was 
too fat, and I used to "be taken for sixteen. Now I am thin, 
my figure is entirely formed, with ample curves — perhaps 
too ample. I compare myself with all tne statues I see, but 
none of them are so curved and broad across the hips as 
I am. Is this a defect ? And my shoulders require just a 
trifle more fulnes^ 

" Yes," I said, " I should like some tea," so they brought 
me a samovar, with four-and-twenty lumps of sugar, and 
enough cream for five cups of tea, both of the finest kind. 
I am very fond of tea, even when it is poor in quality, and 
I drank live cups — they were only little ones — with cream, 
and three without, like a regular Russian. 

Real Russians and their two capitals are entirely new 
experiences to me. 

Before I went abroad I knew nothing of Russia except the 
Ukraine and the Crimea. 

The few Russian peasants who used to come out into the 
country as pedlars seemed almost foreigners to us, and we 
used to laugn at their dress and their speech. 

I may say what I like, but all the same my lips have been 
soiled since that defiling kiss. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 169 

You good people, cynical women, I pardon your con- 
temptuous smile at my affectation of candour ! . . . "But really 
am I degrading myself by admitting such a thing as incredu- 
lity. . . Must I swear it ? . . . No, I think I do a great deal 
in thus speaking my least thoughts, especially as no one 
obliges me to do so. I don't make a merit of it, because my 
journal is my life, and in the midst of all my enjoyments 1 
think " What a lot I shall have to tell to-night ! " as if I were 
under some compulsion. 

Monday, August \Uh {August 2nd). — We left Moscow 
yesterday at one o'clock. The city was in a great stir, and 
lined with flags, because of the commg of the kings of Greece 
and Denmark. 

The whole journey Uncle iStienne nearly worried me to 
death. 

Imagine me deep in a study of Cleopatra and Mark 
Antony, and continually interrupted by this sort of remark : 
— " Would you like something to eat ? " — " Do you feel cold ? " 
— " There is some roast fowl and cucumber here." — " Will you 
have a pear ? "— " Shall I shut the window ? "— " What will 
you have to eat when we get there ? " — " I have telegraphed 
to them to have a bath ready for you, our queen! I sent 
for a marble one for you ; and the whole house has been got 
ready to receive your Majesty." 

It is all very kind, of course ; but unspeakably tire- 
some. 

There are some gentlemen paying attentions to Amalia, 
as if she were a lady. Chocolat is surprising me by 
his emancipated ideas and his ungrateful, sly, and cat-like 
nature. At Grousskoe station we were met by two carriages, 
six peasant serving-men, and my good-for-nothing brother. 
He is tall and broad, but beautiful as a Roman statue, with 
comparatively small feet Then an hour and a half s drive 
to Ghpatowka, during which I foresee a number of petty 
rivalries and bones of contention between my father and 
the Babanines. I held up my head, and kept my brother 
in his right place, who is, for that matter, delighted to 
see me. 

I am not going to take sides with any one. I want my 
father. 

"Gritzko" — the Ukraine patois for Gregory — "waited 
here a fortnight to see you," said Paul; "we thought you 
were never coming." 



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170 MAEIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" Has he gone, then ? " 

" No ; I left him at Poltava. He wanted to see you very 
much. " You know," he said ; " I knew her when she was 
that high ! " 

" Then he thinks that he is grown up, and that I am a 
little girl ? " 

" Yes." 

" Of course. What is he like ? " 

"He always speaks French, and he {joes into society at 
Petersburg. He has the reputation of being close-fisted, but 
he is only careful and gentlemanly. He and I wished to 
welcome you at Poltava with a band, but papa said that was 
only suitable for queens." 

I notice that my father is afraid of seeming a swagger- 
ing braggart I will soon reassure him. I adore all the 
nonsensical whims that he is so fond of. 

Eighteen versts of ploughed fields, and then a village of 
small and wretched cabms. As soon as the peasants saw the 
carriage they bared their heads. These people, standing there 
so patient and respectful, touched me, and I smiled at them. 
They were astonished, and replied with smiles to my little 
friendly overtures. 

The house is one storey high, small, but with a large 
garden growing wild. The peasant women are remarkably 
well grown, and look smart and handsome in their dress, 
which outlines their form and leaves the legs bare to the 
knee. 

Marie, my aunt, came to meet us on the steps. I had 
a bath, and then we dined. Several skirmishes with Paul 
He tried to get me into a pet, without meaning it per- 
haps, but in obedience to an impulse set in motion by his 
father. I sat upon him superbly, and saw him humiliated 
as he had wished to see me. I can read him through and 
through. 

He has no belief in my success, and means to tease me as 
regards our position in society. Everybody here calls me 
" cpieen." If my father wants to dethrone me, I shall make 
him give in. I Know him, for in many respects he and I are 
birds of a feather. 

Tuesday, August 15th (Aug- 3rd.) — The house is as 
bright and gay as a lantern. The flowers surell sweet, the 
parrot talks, the canaries sing, the servants rim about. At 
about eleven o'clock a peal of bells announced a neighbour, 
M. Hamaley. Most people would think him an English- 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 171 

man. Well, he is nothing of the kind, but belongs to an old 
and noble family here. His wife is one of the Prodgers. 

As my luggage had not yet arrived we got out of the train 
a station sooner than we need have done — I appeared in a 
white dressing-gown. What an immense difference between 
me now and a year ago ! A year ago I hardly dared open 
my mouth, " I didn't know what to say." Now, like Margaret, 
I am grown-up. 

This gentleman lunched with us ; what am I to say about 
him and the other people I shall see here ? Excellent people 
in their way, but smacking of provincialism. 

Another visitor turned up towards dinner-time, which was 
not long after luncheon — the brother of the aforesaid gentle- 
man. He is a young man and has travelled much, but very 
obliging all the same. The sudden arrival of my eight 
trunks was followed by some music and two songs sung by 
me. Then I busied myself with my embroidery, but listened 
with all my ears to a conversation on French politics — a 
matter supposed to imply a knowledge of things beyond 
my sex. 

The second bearded Hamaley stopped till ten o'clock. 

Up till eleven o'clock I was straining my poor voice, 
which has scarcely recovered from the raw climate of Peters- 
burg. 

In this blissful Chpatowka they do nothing but eat 
Then they go out for Half an hour, and then they eat again, 
and so on all day long. 

I went for a walk with my arm just resting on Paul's 
while my thoughts were wandering to the devil, and 
just as we were passing under some trees whose branches 
came very low down over our heads, forming a ceiling 

of interlaced leaves, I imagined to myself what A 

would be saying if he were walking along this avenue 
with me on his arm. He would lean a little towards 
me, he would say in that languishing and penetrating 
tone which he never used to anybody but me, ... he 
would say, " How happy one feels here, and how I love you ! " 

Nothing can give any idea of the tenderness of his voice 
when he was talking to me, when he was saying things that 
were meant for me alone. His ways, as of a tiger-kitten, 
his eyes burning you through and through, his witching 
voice, muffled and yet so thrilling, murmuring words of love 
in tones of complaint or entreaty. . . so humbly, so tenderly, 
so passionately ! — He was never like that except to me, me 
only. 



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172 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

But it was an empty tenderness, a manner, nothing 
more. If he seemed stirred to the depths, it was only 
a habit of his, just as some people seem to be always in a 
hurry, others astonished, others sorrowful, without being so 
really. 

Oh, how I should like to know the truth about it all ! 
I should like to go back to Rome married ; otherwise it would 
be humiliating. But then I don't want to marry. I want 
to remain free, and above all to study. I have found my 
vocation. 

And frankly, to marry simply in order to spite A 

would be foolish. 

No r it isn't that, but I want to live like everybody 
else! 

I am dissatisfied with myself to-night, and I have no 
particular idea why. 

Wednesday, August lbth {August Uh). — A crowd of 
neighbours of both sexes, the cream of this noble neighbour- 
hood. One lady who has been to Rome and possesses a 
daughter who won't open her mouth. In a sudden and un- 
expected way three angels dropped in unawares : the Juge 
destruction, the notary, and the secretary. 

My uncle, who has been Justice of the Peace for seven 
years past, has generally some business on hand with these 
functionaries. 

In two years he will be a state councillor, and he is 
burning to be decorated. 

Iput on a blue silk dress and little fancy shoes. 

These fine gentlemen have not worried me like the dusty 
people at Nice, they have only made me laugh heartily. 
They dare not make advances, but admire me at a respectful 
distance. 

Sunday, August 20th (August 8th.) — I started again 
with my brother Paul. Paul does very well We had two 
hours to wait at Kharkoff. My uncle Alexander was 
there. 

Notwithstanding my letters, he was almost dumbfounded 
to see me. He told me how terribly anxious my father had 
been, thinking that I was not coming at alL He did nothing 
but ask for the letters I wrote to my uncle, so as to know 
whether I was on the way. 

In short, uncle Alexander was most graciously pleased 
to see me — from proper pride, if not from love of me. 



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m 



RUSSIA, 1876. 173 

Uncle Alexander tried to put a spoke in my wheel, but 
my policy is to take neither side. He found me a seat by 
introducing the colonel of the Menzenkanoff guards, who gave 
up his. 

I feel at home in my country ; everything knows me or 
mine ; there is nothing uncertain in our position, and we walk 
and breathe freely. But I shouldn't like to live here. Oh 
no, certainly not ! 

We reached Poltava this morning at six o'clock. No one 
to meet us. 

When we reached the hotel, I wrote a note. Abruptness 
often pays. 

" I have arrived at Poltava, and not even found a 
carriage. 

" Come at once. I will wait for you till noon, Really, 
this is hardly a proper welcome. 

"Marie Bashkirtseff." 

I had scarcely despatched this letter when my father 
burst into the room. I threw myself into his arms with a 
stately dignity. He was visibly satisfied with my appear- 
ance, for his first care was to look me over with a kmd of 
eagerness. 

" How tall you are ! I hardly expected it. And pretty, 
too. Yes, indeed, uncommonly so." 

" And that is how you welcome me ; not even a carriage ! 
Did you get my letter ? " 

" No ; but I have just got the telegram, and I ran here. 
I hoped to have been in time for tne train — I am quite 

covered with dust I got into little E 's troika to save 

time." 

" I have just written you such a letter ! " 

" Anything like the last one ? " 

" Pretty much." 

" Ah, very good .... very good ! " 

" Now you Know. I expect to be waited on." 

" So do I. Now look here, I am devilishly freakish." 

" So am I, only more so." 

"You are accustomed to have everybody running after 
you, like so many puppies." 

" So they must, or they'll get nothing out of me." 

" Well, you needn't expect this sort of thing from me." 

" Well, you can take it or leave it." 



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174 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" But why treat me as the elderly father ? I ara a jolly 
good fellow, a young man, there ! " 

" All the better. 

" I am not alone. Prince Michel E and your cousin 

Paul Q are here too." 

" Let them come in." 

E is a regular little masher, screamingly funny, very 

deferential, engulfed in a pair of trousers three sizes too big 
for him, with a collar up to his ears. 

The other is called Pacha* his family name is too 
difficult to write. He is a sturdy vigorous lad, with light 
brown hair, clean-shaved, has a Russian look, and is square, 
frank, serious, and sympathetic ; but either taciturn or much 
pre-occupied — which of the two I am not quite clear 
about. 

They had been expecting me with intense curiosity. My 
father was delighted. My figure charms him. The con- 
ceited man is proud of being able to show me off. 

We were ready, but were obliged to wait for the ser- 
vants and the baggage, so as to make the procession im- 
Sosing ; a carriage and four, another open one, and a hooded 
roshki, yoked to an idiotic troika belonging to the little 
prince. 

My pater looked at me with great satisfaction, but took 
pains to look cool and even indifferent 

Besides, it is his way to conceal his feelings. 

When we were half way there, I mounted the droshki, 
and went like the wind. We did ten versts in twenty-five 
minutes. There were still two versts to Gavronzi, and I went 
back to my father, that he might have the satisfaction of 
making an imposing entry into the place 

Princess l£ (Michel's mother-in-law and my father's 

sister) met us on the steps. 

" Look here ! " said my father ; " isn't she tall ? . . . . and 
isn't she interesting ? Now isn't she ? Eh ? " 

He certainly must have been pleased with me to be so 
effusive before one of his sisters; but this one is a really 
nice woman. 

A steward and others came up to congratulate me on my 
happy arrival. 

The estate is picturesquely situated — hills, a river, trees, 
one large house, and several small ones. All the buildings 
and the garden are remarkably well kept Besides, the house 

* Diminutive of Paul. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 175 

has been thoroughly done up and re-furnished this winter. 
The place is kept up in fine style, with an appearance of 
simplicity and a look of "this sort of thing goes on every 
day." 

Of course we had champagne for luncheon — an affec- 
tation of aristocratic ways and simplicity bordering on pom- 
pousness. 

Portraits of ancestors — tokens of a long line of descent 
which are of course very acceptable. 

Fine bronzes, Sevres and Saxon china, and art treasures. 
All this quite surpasses my expectations here. 

My father poses as an unhappy man — one who wished 
for nothing better than to be a model of all the domestic 
virtues, deserted by his wife. 

There is a large portrait of mamma, painted during her 
absence. Signs of regret are not wanting at the remembrance 
of perished happiness, with outbursts of hatred against my 
grandparents, wno caused the breach. He takes a tre- 
mendous lot of trouble to make me feel that iuy arrival 
will make no difference in the ways of the house. 

There was a card-party, during which I did my canvas- 
work, and threw in a remark from time to time, which was 
eagerly listened to. 

Papa quitted the table and sat down by me, leaving the 
cards to racha. I talked as I embroidered, and he listened 
very attentively. 

Then he suggested a walk in the country. I walked at 
first arm-in-arm with him, then with my brother and the 
little prince. We went and saw my old nurse, who made a 
pretence of wiping away a tear. She only nursed me for 
three months ; my real nurse is at Tchernakowka. 

They took me a good long way. " We must give you an 
appetite," said my father. 

I complained of being tired r and said I was afraid of 
walking on the grass, for fear of serpents and other " ferocious 
beasts/ The father was reticent ; so was the daughter. If 
his sister the princess, Michel, and the other one had not 
been there, it would have been much better. 

He made me sit down beside him to see some sleight of 
hand and gymnastic performances on the part of Michel. 
He learned the "profession" in a circus, which he accom- 
panied as far as the Caucasus on account of a little circus- 
girL 

As soon as I got home I recalled a remark made by 
my father, whether accidental or on purpose. I dwelt on 

N 



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176 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

it till it assumed large proportions, and then sat down in a 
corner and wept long, without moving and without blinking 
once, but staring fixedly at a flower on the wall-paper — 
plunged in misery, restless, and sometimes so despairing as 
not to care. 

This is what happened. They were talking about A , 

and asking me all sorts of questions about him. Contrary 
to my usual custom, I replied with reserve, and did not 
enlarge on the subject of my conquests, leaving them to 
imagine or guess what they liked. And then my father 
observed, with the utmost indifference — 

" I heard that A was married three months ago." 

Once in my room, I did not reason about it ; I simply 
remembered the remark, and flung myself on the floor, 
crushed and miserable. 

I looked at his letter : — " I need the consolation of a word 
from you." This upset me completely, and almost made me 
condemn myself. 

And then — oh, what horror in fancying you love and 
yet in not being able to love ! For I really cannot love 
a man like that — a feeble, dependent creature, who hardly 
knows anything ! I can't love. I can only be bored. 

The people nere have given me a green bed-room and a 
blue sitting-room. Really, when I think of my peregrinations 
this winter they are curious enough ! And, even since I have 
been in Russia, how many times have I changed guides, habi- 
tations, and surroundings ! 

I change my habitation, my relatives, and my ac- 
quaintances, without the smallest surprise, or that strange 
feeling which I felt before. All these people — my pro- 
tectors or otherwise — all these means of luxury or useful- 
ness get mixed up together, and leave me calm and 
unmoved. 

What can I do to get my father to Rome ? 

Tuesday, August 22nd (10th). — There is a good deal of 
difference between life here and the open-handed hospitality 
of Uncle fitienne and Aunt Marie, who gave up their room 
to me and waited on me like niggers. 

Here it is very different There, I was at home in a 
friendly country. Here, I came to beard long-established 
relationships, trampling under my little feet hundreds of 
quarrels and millions of squabbles. 

My father is a hard man, who has been frozen and 
flattened down from his very childhood by that terrible old 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 177 

general his father. Scarcely did he gain his freedom and 
come into his property than he took his fling and half ruined 
himself. 

Puffed up as he is with self-love and puerile conceit, 
he prefers to seem a monster rather than let nis real feelings 
appear, especially when he is much moved, and in this he is 
lie me. 

But the merest blind man would see how pleased he 
is to have me, and he does show it a little when we are 
alone. 

At two o'clock we started for Poltava. 

This morning we have already had a skirmish on the 
Babanine question, and in the carriage my father allowed 
himself to insult them, especially grandmamma, in the name 
of his lost happiness. The blooa rose to my face, and I told 
him severely to leave the dead in their grave. 

" Leave the dead ! " he exclaimed. " If I could only get 
at the ashes of that woman and the . . . ." 

" Silence, father ! You are insolent and ill-bred ! " 

" Chocolat may be insolent ; I am not." 

"Yes, my good father, you are, and so are all who are 
lacking in refinement and education. I will not have people 
talking like that. If I have enough delicacy to be reticent 
on that point, it is absurd for others to complain. You 
have nothing whatever to do with the Babanines; mind 
the business of your own wife and children. As for them, 
do not speak of them in any other way than as I speak 
of your relations to you. Appreciate my tact, ana do 
likewise." 

All the time I was saying this I felt extremely proud of 
myself. 

" How dare you say such things tome?" 

" I say it, and I repeat it. I am sorry I came 

And I turned my back on him, for I was choked with 
tears and with a frantic desire to cry. 

Then my father began to laugn, in confused embarrass- 
ment, and tried to kiss me and take me in his arms. 

" Look here, Marie, let us be friends. We won't ever talk 
of that I won't say anything more about it, I give you my 
word." 

I resumed my ordinary bearing, but without giving the 
smallest sign of forgiveness and friendliness. The result of 
which was that papa got more amiable still 

My child, my angel — (I am talking to myself* — you are 
N 2 



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178 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

an angel — an absolute angel ! You always knew what to 
do, but you couldn't always do it You are only just be- 
ginning to put your theories into practice ! 

At Poltava my father is monarch; but what a fearful 
kingdom ! 

My father is tremendously proud of his two bays. 
When they were brought out in the municipal state 
carriage, I condescended to remark that they were "very 
pretty." 

We drove through the streets, as silent as those of 
Pompeii. 

How on earth can these people live like that ? But then 
I am not here to study the townspeople's habits, so let us 
get on. 

" Ah," said my father, " if you had come a little sooner, 
there were plenty of people. We might have got up a ball, 
or something ! Now, there isn't a dog left. The fair is 
over." 

We went into a shop to order a canvas for painting. This 
shop is the meeting ground of all the swells of Poltava, but 
to-day we found not a souL 

This was also the case in the public gardens. 

For some unknown reason my father won't introduce 
anybody to me. Perhaps he is afraid of a too severe 
criticism. 

M turned up in the middle of dinner. 

Six years ago, when we were at Odessa, mamma often 

used to see Mme. M ; and her son Gritz came every day 

to play with Paul and me. He used to pay court to me, 
and bring me sweets, flowers, and fruit. 

They used to laugh at us, and Gritz used to say that he 
would never marry any woman but me. To which a certain 
gentleman invariably remarked — 

" Oh, what a boy ! He wants a rider for a wife ! " 

When we left Kussia for Vienna, the M s came with 

us as far as the steamer. I was a regular flirt in those days, 
although I was so small I had forgotten to bring my comb, 
and Gritz ^ave me his. Our parents let us kiss each other 
when we said good-bye. 

" O jours fortunes de notre enfance, 
Ou nous elisions, maman, papa ; 
Jours de bonheur et d'innocence, 
Ah ! que vous etes loin deja." 

"You know, my dear cousin, Gritz is rather deaf and 

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RUSSIA, 1876. 179 

rather stupid," said Michel E , while iM was going 

up the restaurant gallery stairs. 

" I know him well, my dear chap ; he is no more stupid 
than you and I ; and he is a little deaf owing to some illness 
he had, and chiefly because he puts cotton-wool in his ears so 
as not to catch cold." 

Several people had already come up and shaken hands 
with my father, burning to be introduced to the daughter 
from abroad ; but my father only looked contemptuous on my 
behalf, and did nothing. I was getting afraid he would do 
the same as regards Gritz. 

" Marie, let me introduce to you Grigori Lvovitch M ," 

said he. 

"We have known each other a long while," said I, 
graciously putting out my hand to the friend of my child- 
hood. 

He wasn't a bit changed. The same brilliant complexion, 
the same spiritless look, the same little mouth — rather 
scornful it was — and a microscopic moustache; dressed to per- 
fection, and very gentlemanly. 

We looked at each other curiously. Michel looked sar- 
castic. Papa blinked, as he always does. 

I was not at all hungry. It was time to start, for the 
theatre, which, like the restaurant, was in the gardens. 

I suggested that we might walk about a little, and go 
to the theatre afterwards. My model father inserted him- 
self between Gritz and me, and when it was time to go 
into the theatre he ran up and gave me his arm. Upon my 
word, he is quite the pattern father that you get in story- 
books. 

A huge stage-box on the first tier, hung with red cloth, 
just facing the Prefect. 

A bouquet from the prince, who fills up the day with 
paying me compliments, in return for whicn he gets such 
remarks as " There, go now, my good fellow ! " or, perhaps, 
" My cousin, you are really the flower of fashion ! " 

Few people there, and a commonplace piece on the stage. 
But our box had plenty of interest all to itself. 

Pacha is a curious fellow. As frank and straightforward 
as a child, he takes everything seriously, and tells me so 
exactly what he thinks that I sometimes suspect that he must 
be immensely sarcastic at bottom. He sometimes doesn't 
speak for ten minutes ; and when any one says anything 
to him, he starts, as if he had only just woke up. When 



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180 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

you try to be agreeable to him, and say with a smile, " How- 
good you are ! ' he gets huffy, and retires into a corner, 
growling " Not a bit of it ; and if I say so, it is because I 
think it ! " 

I showed myself in the front of the box to gratify my 
father's vanity. 

" There," he said, proudly, " see me playing the paternal 
rdle. It is comic. But I am a young fellow still — I am." 

" Ah, papa ! " said I, " that is your weak side. Very well. 
You shall be my elder brother, and I shall call you Constan- 
tino. Does that suit you ? " 

"Perfectly." 

M and I particularly wanted to have a talk to our- 
selves ; but Paul E or papa always got in the way, as 

if they did it on purpose. At last I ensconced myself in 
a corner which was nke a little separate compartment, 
looking on to the stage, and letting you see the actors' 

E reparations. Michel, of course, followed me; but I sent 
im to get me some water, and then Gritz sat down by 
me. 

" I have been impatiently looking forward to seeing you," 
he said, examining me curiously. " You are not a bit 
changed." 

"Oh, I don't like that," I said; "I was very plain when I 
was ten." 

" Oh, it isn't that ; but you are always the same." 

"H'm!" 

" Oh, I see what that glass of water meant ! " whined the 
prince, handing me one. " Oh yes, I see ! " 

" Pay attention to what you are carrying. You will upset 
it on my dress if you bend so much." 

"You are unkind; you are my cousin, and yet you 
always talk to him." 

" He was my friend when we were children ; you are — oh ! 
you are — a gay butterfly of a day." 

We found we remembered the smallest incidents. 

" We were both children ; but how well we remember our 
childhood passed together, do we not ? " 

"Yes." 

M is quite an old man of the world in mind. It is 

quite comical to hear this fresh rosy boy talking of serious 
domestic useful matters. He inquired whether I had a good 
lady's-maid. Then — 

" Your having studied so much will be a good thing when 
you come to have children, and ..." 



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RUSSIA, 1876 181 

" What an idea ! " 

"Well, am I not right?" 

" Oh yes, you are quite right." 

" There is your uncle Alexander," said my father to me. 

"Where?" 

" Over there, opposite/ 

And there he was, with his wife. 

Uncle Alexander came over to us, and at the next interval 
my father sent me over to aunt Nadine. The dear little 
woman was pleased, and so was I. 

Between one of the acts I went out into the garden with 
Paul My father ran after me and took my arm. 

" So you see," said my father, " how civil I am to your 
relatives. I am not so devoid of manners after all" 

"Very well, papa Those who want to get on with me 
ought to obey my wishes and serve me." 

"Oh no." 

" Oh yes. They can take it or leave it ; but now con- 
fess that you are happy in having a daughter like me 
-pretty, well-formed, graceful, clever, and well-read. Con- 

t!" 
f It is quite true ; I confess it." 



one will 



"Oh, although you are such a young fellow, and every 
ill be surprisea to find your children so big ? " 

" Oh yes, I am still quite a young man .... 

" Papa, we are going to have supper in the garden." 

" It isn't considered proper." 

" Oh, come, papa ; not proper with one's own father, the 
marichal de noblesse, whom all the curs know; the most 
prominent man of the golden youth of Poltava ! " 

" But the horses are waiting." 

" That is just what I wanted to talk to you about. Send 
them away, and we will go home in a cab." 

" You in a cab ? You certainly shall not. And, besides, 
supper isn't respectable." 

"Papa, when I condescend to consider a thing respect- 
able, it is quite absurd for any one to presume to tnink 
differently." 

" Well, well, then, we will have supper ; but solely to please 
you. I am tired of these amusements.' 

So we had supper in a private room, ordered by papa out 
of deference to me. Bashkirtseff, father and son, uncle 

Alexander and Nadine, Pacha, E , M , and I. M 

busied himself chiefly in putting a cloak about my shoulders, 
and declared I should, catch cold, 



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182 MARIE BASHKIET8EFF. 

We had some champagne. E asked for one bottle 

alter another, so as to give me the last drop. 

We had several toasts, and my boy-friend, taking his 
glass, bowed towards me, and said, gently, "Your mother's 
health." And as he looked frankly into my eves as an old 
friend, I also replied in a whisper with a frank look of thanks 
and a friendly smile. 

A few minutes afterwards I said out loud, " To mamma's 

health ! " and they drank it afresh. M watched my 

smallest actions, and palpably was trying to conform to my 
opinions, my tastes, and even my jokes. I amused myself by 
cnanging them, so as to put him out He kept on listening, 
and at last exclaimed — 

" Oh, how charming she is ! " He was so open, natural, 
and delighted at it, that I couldn't help being pleased 
myself. 

Nadine went home in the carriage with papa and me, and 
I went to her house, and there we chatted as much as we 
liked. 

"My dear Moussia," said my uncle Alexander, "you 
delighted me. I was very much pleased with your proper 
way of treating your relations, and especially your lather, 
I was getting anxious for you ; but if you go on as 
you have begun, I can assure you that everything will go 
well." 

" Yes," said Paul ; " even if you only stop a month, you will 
get the whip-hand of our fatner, which will be a very good 
thing for everybody." 

My father occupied the room next to mine, on the right, 
and he made his servant sleep in my dressing-room. 

" I hope she is well guarded," he said to my uncle. 
" You know, I am a eay dog, and lead a life of pleasure ; but 
from the moment that her mother entrusts ner to me, I 
shall justify her confidence and fulfil my duty in the most 
sacred way." 

Yesterday I borrowed twenty-five roubles from my father 
in order to have the pleasure of returning them to him 
to-day. 

We started in the same order as we did yesterday. 

We were hardly in the fields before my father asked, 
quite suddenly, " Well, are we going to fight again to-day ? " 

" As much as ever you like. 

He took me abruptly in his arms, wrapped me about m 
his cloak, and laid my head against his shoulder. 

I closed my eyes. That is my way of being tender. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 183 

We remained like that for several minutes. 

" And now," he said, " sit up again." 

" A cloak, then, for I shall be cold." 

He wrapped me in a cloak, and I began to speak of 
the places abroad, of Rome and the pleasures of society, 
taking care to make him understand how immensely we 
enjoyed ourselves, speaking of Mgr. de Falloux, of Baron 
Visconti, and the Pope. Then I enlarged upon the society 
of Poltava. 

"Passing one's life in losing at cards, degenerating in 
the depths of provincialism, and drinking champagne in 
wineshops. Getting rusty and stupid. Whatever else one 
does, one ought always to oe in good company." 

" Oh then, that is as good as saying that I am in bad 
company ? " he said, laughing. 

" I say so ! never. I am only speaking generally — of no- 
body in particular." 

I said so much that he asked me the cost of a fine suite 
of rooms in which to give parties at Nice. 

" You know," said he, " if I were to zo down there, and 
stay for the winter, the position would be a very different 
one ... " 

" Whose position ? " 

" Oh, that of the birds of the air," he said, laughing, with 
some amount of pique. 

" My position ? Yes, it is quite true. But after all 
Nice is not a pleasant town. Why not come this winter to 
Rome ? " 

" I ? H'm ! . . . Yes ! . . . H'm ! . . . " 

That's all right, the first word has been sown, and it has 
fallen on good ground. What I fear are the adverse influ- 
ences which may be brought to bear. I must accustom this 
man to me, must make myself pleasant and necessary to him, 

and in short manage to let aunt T find a barrier between 

her brother and her malice. 

He is pleased to find that I can talk on every subject. As 
we went in to dinner I finished a discussion on chemistry with 
one Kapitanenko, a retired officer of the guard, who had 
got rusty exposed to the universal ridicule of this provincial 
society. He is constantly at the house. 

My father said as he got up — 

" Y ou see, Pacha, how learned she is ! " 

" You are laughing at me, papa ? " 

" Not at all, not at all. All right, my dear. Yes, ah ! very 
good ; h'm, very good." 



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184 MABIE BA8HKTRT8EFF. 

Wednesday, August 23rd {August \\th). — I have written 
almost as much to mamma as in my Journal It will do her 
more good than all the medicine in the world. I make 
her think I am delighted, but I am not — as yet. I tell her 
everything just as it happens, though I am not yet very sure 
what will be the end of the story. However, we shall see. 
God is very good. 

Pacha is my first cousin, my father's sister's son. This 
man puzzles me. We had a talk this morning ; we spoke of 
my father, and I said that sons always criticised their fathers' 
actions, and that as soon as they were in their places the sons 
did exactly the same, to be criticised in turn by their own 
children. 

"Exactly," said he, "but my sons won't criticise me, 
because I shall never marry." 

A moment after, I went on — " No young people ever lived 
who haven't said the same thing." 

" Yes, but it isn't the same tning with me." 

"Why not?" 

" Because I am twenty-two, and have never been in love, 
and no woman has attracted me." 

" That's very natural. No one ought to be in love before 
twenty-two." 

" Why, some boys fall in love from the age of fourteen." 

" All their loves have nothing to do with real love." 

" Very likely ; but I am not everybody. I am hot-headed 
and proud — I mean, of course, I am speaking of my self- 
respect, and besides " 

"But those are good qualities which you are speaking 

"Good?" 

"Certainly." 

Then, & propos of I don't know what, he told me 
that if his mother were to die he should go out of his 
mind. 

" Yes. for a year ; and then " 

" Oh no ; I should go mad — I know it" 

" For a year perhaps ; but new faces obliterate old 
impressions." 

" Then do you deny that virtue and lasting feelings 
exist ? " 

" Of course I do." 

" It is very curious, Moussia," he said, " how quickly one 
gets into familiar ways when there is no constraint, The day 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 185 

before yesterday I called you Maria Constantinovna ; yesterday, 

Mile. Moussia ; and to-day " 

" Moussia, simply ; and I told you to do so." 

" It seems to me that we have always been together, your 

manners are so simple and pleasing." 
"Yes, doesn't it?" 

I enjoyed talking to the peasants we met on the road and 
in the Forest ; and Took you (" look you," a portier's phrase), 
I can speak the dialect here very fairly. 

The Vorsklo, the river which runs through my father's 
village, is so shallow that it may be crossed on foot in the 
summer, but in winter it is a torrent. I took it into my 
head to make my horse paddle in the water, and, gathering 
up my riding-habit, I rode nim right in. It was a very pleasant 
sensation, and delicious to see. The water came up to the 
horse's knees. 

I was hot from the sun and my ride, and I was try- 
ing my voice, which is gradually coming back I sang 
the Laerymo8a out of the Funeral Mass, as I did at 
Rome. 

My father was waiting for us under the colonnade, and 
lookea at us with satisfaction. 

" Well, did I take you in ? Do I look badly in a riding- 
habit ? Ask Pacha how I mount. Are you satisfied ? " 

" Very true ; yes ; h'm ! . . . . Very good ; very good 
indeed." 

And he inspected me with a pleased air. 

I am far from being sorry that I brought thirty dresses 
for my father's weak side is vanity. Just at that moment 

came M with a trunk and a servant. When he 

had paid his respects to me, and I had made the usual 
replies, I went to change my dress, saying, " I am coming 
back." 

I came back in a dress of Oriental gauze, with a train two 
yards long ; a bodice of silk, open in front in the Louis XV. 
style, and fastened by a great white bow ; the skirt was 
naturally all in one, and the train cut square. 

M talked to me about dress, admiring mine. 

People call him stupid, and he can talk of everything — 
music, art, science. It is quite true that it is I who do the 
talking, and he only says, "You are perfectly right ; I quite 
agree. 

I said nothing about my studies, fearing to scare him. 
But when we were at table, I was provoked into doing so. I 



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186 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

quoted a Latin verse, and expatiated with the doctor on 
classical literature and its modern imitations. 

They exclaimed that I was astonishing, and that there 
was nothing in the world that I couldn't talk about, no subject 
of conversation in which I wasn't at home. 

Papa made heroic attempts to hide his beaming pride. 
Then a fowl stuffed with truffles started a discussion on 
cooker} 7 , in which I showed an acquaintance with gastronomic 

science which made M open his eyes and his mouth still 

more. Passing to sophistry, 1 began to explain the utility of 
good cookery, maintaining that good cookery makes men 
virtuoua 

I went to the first floor. The rooms are very large, 
especially the ball-room. They have just placed the piano 
there. 

I played. Poor Kapitanenko made frantic efforts to keep 
Paul from talking. 

" Good heavens ! " cried the simple fellow, " when I hear 
that, I forget that I have been fusty and rusty for six years 
here in a province ! I am alive agam ! " 

I am not playing well to-day. I flounder frequently. 
However, there are some things that I don't jplay badly. 
But all the same, I was quite aware that poor Kapitanenko 
was sincere ; and I was pleased at the pleasure I gave 
him. 

Kapitanenko on my left, Eristoff and Paul behind, and 
Gritz looking at me with a beaming countenance, I had no 
eyes for the others. 

When I had finished The Brook, they all kissed my 
hand. 

Papa blinked on his sofa. The princess went on working 
without saying anything ; but she is a good-hearted woman 
all the same. 

I breathe freely ; I am in my father's house. He is one 
of the chief government officials, and I fear neither want of 
respect nor frivolity. 

At ten o'clock papa gave the signal for retiring, and 
handed over to Paul the young men who all live in the red 
house with him. 

And I said to my father, "That is what we shall do 
when I go abroad again. You will come with me." 

" Perhaps," he said. " Yes, I will think about it" 

I was satisfied. A short silence intervened, and then we 
talked about something else. When he went out, I went 
in to the princess for a quarter of an hour. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 187 

I told my father to invite uncle Alexander here, and he 
wrote him a very amiable letter. 

What do you think of me ? 

I say that I am an angel, provided that God continues to 
be well disposed. 

Don't laugh at my devotion. There, you have only to begin, 
to find everything ridiculous in my journaL If I were to 
begin to criticise myself as an author, I might spend my 
whole life at it. 

Tliwrsday, 24>th Av^gust (12^ August). — At nine o'clock I 
went to my father's room. I found him in his shirt-sleeves 
trying to fasten his necktie. I did it for him while kissing 
his forehead. 

The gentlemen came to drink their tea, and Pacha too. 
Yesterday evening he did not appear, and the servant came 
to say that he had " gone to bed ill." The others laughed at 
his bearish attentions to me ; and he is so sensitive about the 
slightest thing that they couldn't get a word out of him this 
morning. 

To amuse me, E sent for a game of skittles, and of 

croquet, and a microscope with a collection of fleas. 

A scandal took place of a certain kind. You can judge 
for yourself. 

Paul took out of his album the photograph of an actress 
whom my father is intimately acquainted with; and when 
papa saw that, he took out his portrait too. 

" What is that for ? " asked Paul in astonishment. 

"Because I fear that you will also throw away my por- 
traits." 

I paid no attention to that, but to-day Paul drew me aside 
and took me into a room, where he showed me his album, 
empty but for the woman's photograph. 

" 1 did that to please my father, but I was obliged to take 
all the other portraits out too. There they are by them- 
selves." 

" Let me see them." 

I took all the photographs of grandpapa, grandmamma, 
mamma and myseli, and put them in my pocket. 

" What are you doing ? " exclaimed Paul. 

" I mean," said I, coolly, " that I am taking back our por- 
traits. They are in such bad company here." 

My brother was ready to cry ; but he tore the album 
across, and went out. I did all this in the drawing-room, 
and I was seen, so my father will hear of it. 



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188 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

We had a long walk in the garden, and went to see the 
chapel and vault containing the tombs of my grandparents 

Basnkirtseff. M was my escort, and helpea me up and 

down. 

Michel followed us like a dog who tries to come over you 
with submissive beseeching eyes, and looked despairingly at 
Gritz the whole time. 

Pacha walked in front; and when he looked at me, he 
did so with such malignant eyes that I turned my head 
away. 

If mamma knew that at the supper at Poltava I had the 
last drop of a bottle of champagne oy chance, and that when 
they drank my health the arms of Nadine, Alexander, Gritz, 

and my own crossed as for a wedding ! Poor mother, 

how happy she would be ! 

Certainly Gritz is getting very soft ; but I pray from 
the bottom of my soul that he won't ask me to marry 
him — narrow, vain as he is, and with a devil of a 
mother ! 

We talked over our childhood and the public gardens at 
Odessa. 

" I paid court to you then," he said. 

I replied by my best smiles, while the young man made 
beseeching grimaces, and begged me to let him carry my 
train. He aid it yesterday, and got nicknamed the train- 
bearer. 

We made up a set for croquet. 

When I was pleasantly warm, I went back to the Chinese 
drawing-room (called by this name from its vases and dolls), 
and, sitting down on the floor, began arranging my paint- 
brushes and colours. My father is incredulous about my 
talents. I made Michel sit in one arm-chair and Gritz in 
another, and sitting on the floor I caricatured Michel in 
fifteen minutes on a drawing-board which Gritz held, turning 
himself into my easeL And while I dabbed away right ana 
left, I felt their eyes devouring me. 

My father was satisfied, and Michel kissed my hand. 

I went up-stairs and sat down at the piano. Pacha list- 
ened from a distance. Soon the others came in, and arranged 
themselves as they did yesterday. But, passing from music 
into talk, Gritz and Michel spoke of wintering at Peters- 
burg. 

" Yes, and I can imagine to myself what you'll do there," 
said I. "Shall I tell you how you will live now, and you 
tell me afterwards if I am wrong ? " 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 189 

"Yes, yes." 

" In the first place, you'll furnish your rooms with the 
most rubbishing things sold you by sham antiquarians, and 
with the most commonplace daubs sold you for ' Originals ; ' 
for it's necessary to be passionately fond of art and antiquities. 
Next, you will keep horses, and a coachman who will be 
familiar. You will consult him, and he'll even meddle in 
your love-affairs. You'll go out on the Newsky with one 
eye-glass, you'll meet a group of friends, you'll get down to 
ask the news, you'll laugh till you cry over one ot those iokes 
of your friends whose business it is to be witty. You'll ask 
when Judic's benefit comes off, and whether they've been 
yet to see Madame Damte. You'll laugh at Princess Lisa, 
and rave about the young Countess Sophie. You'll go to 
Borreel's, where doubtless there is a Francjois, a Baptiste, or 
a D6sir6, who knows you, and who will come bowing and 
scraping to tell you of the suppers that have or have not 
taken place, the last scandal about Prince Pierre, and the 
adventures of Constance. You will swallow a glass of some- 
thing strong with a frightful grimace, and youll ask if what 
they gave the prince was better cooked than what you got at 
your supper. And Francis or D£sir6 will answer, ' Monsieur 
le Prince, can you gentlemen imagine it ? ' And he will tell 
you he had for you a Japanese turkey and truffles from 
China. You will fling him two roubles and look about you, 
and then you will get back into your carriage to follow 
the women, leaning foppishly first to one side, and then 
to the other, exchanging observations with your coachman, 
who is as fat as an elephant, and who is known among 
all your friends for being able to drink three samovars 
a day. 

" You will go to the theatre, and tread on the heels of 
those who have got there before you, shaking hands with — 
or, rather, extending your finger-tips to — friends who will 
tell you of the success of the new actress, whilst you, 
opera-glass in hand, will stare at the women with your 
most impertinent look, and think you are making an 
impression. 

" And how you do take yourselves in ! And how perfectly 
the women see through you ! 

"And you prostrate yourselves to ruination before the 
Parisian ' stars ' who come to shine before you after they have 
gone out in Paris. 

" Then you sup, and you go to sleep on the carpet ; but 
the restaurant waiters won't leave you in peace ; they 



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190 MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

thrust pillows under your heads, and put quilts over you, 
your wine-stained dress-coats, and your crumpled snirt- 
collars. 

"You go home next morning to go to bed — or, rather, 
some one takes you. And how pale and ugly and wrinkled 
you look ! And now intensely you pity yourselves ! 

"And then, when you are tnirty-five or forty, you 
definitely become enamoured of a ballet-girl and marry 
her. And she beats you, and you sit behind the scenes 
the most miserable being alive, while she dances on the 
stage . . . ." 

Here I was interrupted, for both Gritz and Michel 
fell on their knees and asked for my hand to kiss, ex- 
claiming that it was miraculous, and that I talked like a 
book. 

" Only," said Gritz at last . . . . " it's all true, all except 
the ballet-girl. I shall never marry anybody but a woman of 
the world. I am a man of rank. I shall adore having my 
house, my wife, and great squalling babies ; I shall be dis- 
tractedly fond of them." 

We had a game of croquet while papa looked on. He 
observed how attentive Gritz was. How should it be other- 
wise ? I am the only woman here. 

He ought to have gone at four o'clock, but at five he 
asked me if he might stay to dinner, and after dinner declared 
he would much rather not go by night. 

I talked about furniture, carriages, liveries, and house- 
keeping, and I was amused to see how my father swallowed 
my words, and, forgetting his pride and reserve, asked various 
questions. 

Gritz talked much, not cleverly, but like a man of the 
world who knew everything. 

I had all my photographs in my hand, and he begged me 
so hard to give him one that I couldn't refuse, and, as he was 
an old friend, I gave him one. 

But I did refuse him the little locket miniature, for 
which he was ready to give "two years of his life." Ah! 
Dio mio ! 

Friday, August 25th {August \3th). — M and Michel 

departed after breakfast. 

My father proposed that we should walk to Pavlovsk, his 
other property. 

It suits me very well ; but I am nervous to-day, and talked 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 191 

little, for the least exertion in speaking made me melt into 
tears. 

Thinking, however, of the effect it would have on mamma 
to hear of the entire absence of festivities of any kind, I told 
my father that I wanted society and gaieties, that I found my 
position strange and even absurd. 

"Very well," he said, "if you want it, it shall be done. 
Would you like me to take you to the Prefect's ? " 

" I should like it" 

" Very well ; it shall be done, then." 

Reassured on this point, I could go with an easv mind to 
see the farm- works, and even to enter into details which didn't 
amuse me at all, but which may come in useful some day 
when I want to act the connoisseur on household arrange- 
ments ; perhaps I shall be able to astonish some one by talk- 
ing about the sowing of barley, and the qualities of wheat, 
and a verse of Shakespeare, or a discourse on Platonic philo- 
sophy, all in one breath. 

It may be seen that I turn everything to account. 

Pacha got me an easel, and about dinner-time I received 
two large canvases, sent me from Poltava by M 

" How do you like M ? " asked papa. 

I told him how I liked him. 

" Well," said Pacha, " J didn't like him the first day. After 
that I got fond of him." 

" Did you like me at first sight ? " I inquired. 

"You? Why?" 

" Never mind ; say." 

" Well, yes ; you pleased me. I did not expect to find you 
that kind of girl. I thought you would not know how to 
talk Russian, that you were affected .... and . . . and then 
I found you .... what you are." 

" Very good." 

I remarked what a depressing effect the country and the 
fields, already bare, had on me. 

" Yes," said Pacha, " everything is yellow. How the time 
flies ! It seems only yesterday that it was spring." 

" People always say that. Ah ! we were nappy in the 
South ; we did not have these marked changes." 

"But then you haven't got the spring to enjoy," said 
Pacha, enthusiastically. 

"All the happier for us. Sudden changes spoil the 
equableness of our tempers, and life is happiest undis- 
turbed." 

"What? ' 



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192 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" I aver that spring in Russia is a season adapted to 
treachery and baseness." 

" How so ? " 

" In winter, when everything about us is cold, dark, and 
dumb, we are gloomy and cold and suspicious. When the 
warm weather comes we sim ourselves ; and, behold ! we are 
transfigured — for the state of the weather has an immense 
influence on the character, the disposition, and even the 
convictions of mankind. In spring we feel happier, and 
consequently better ; we are disinclined to believe m the evil 
and baseness of people. ' When everything is so lovely, 
and I am so happy, so full of enthusiasm, and almost 
intoxicated with well-being, how can there be any room 
for evil thoughts in other people's hearts ? ' That is the 
general sentiment. Well, in the South we don't get intoxicated 
— or, at any rate, only very slightly. Whence I infer that 
we are in a normal condition, which maintains an even 
leveL" 

Pacha worked himself up to the pitch of asking me for 
my portrait to wear in a locket his whole life long. 

" Because I respect and love you like nobody else." 

The princess opened her eyes, and I laughed as I begged 
my cousin to kiss my hand. 

He was obstinate, then reddened, and ended by obeying. 
He is a curious barbarian. This afternoon I was talking of 
my contempt for the human race. 

" Ah ! you are right," he cried. " And therefore I am a poor 
wretch ! " And red and trembling he took to his heels and 
fled the drawing-room. 

Saturday, August 26th (August 14th). — Oh, how intolerable 
the country is ! 

With astonishing rapidity I sketched two likenesses of my 
father and PauL It took me thirty-five minutes. 

Combien de femmes en ce raonde 
Ne ponrraient pas en dire antant. 

My father, who had looked upon my talent as something 
of a vain boast, now recognised it, ana was pleased. I was 
enchanted, for to be able to paint is one of my aima Every 
hour passed without painting or without flirtation (for flirta- 
tion leads to love, and love possibly to marriage) falls on 
my head like a weight. Read ? No ! Act ? Yes ! 

This morning my father came into my room, and after a 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 193 

few ordinary remarks, when Paul had left the room, there fell 
a silence, during which I was aware that my father had some- 
thing to say ; and as I wished to talk of the same thing, I pur- 
posely hela my tongue, as much because I did not want to 
begin, as for tne pleasure of seeing somebody else's hesitation 
and embarrassment. 

" H'm ! . . ." then " what do you say ? " he asked at last. 

" I, papa ? Nothing." 

" H'm ! . . . you said . . . H'm ! . . . about my coming 
to Rome with you . . . H'm ! ... in what way ? " 

" Why, in the ordinary way, of course." 

" But . . . ." 

He hesitated, and fidgeted with my brushes and combs. 

" If I come with you . . . H'm ! . . . Mamma, you know 
. . . she won't come ? Then . . . you see, if she won't come 
. . . H'm ! . . . what shall we do ? " 

Ah ! ah I excellent father ! There we are ! You are the 
one to hesitate . . . splendid ! That's capital. 

" Mamma ? Mamma will come." 

"Ah!" 

"Mamma will do anything I like. She only lives for 
me." 

Visibly relieved, he asked a number of questions as 
to how mamma passed the time, and a heap of things 
besides. 

How was it that mamma warned me against papa's 
evil disposition, and his habit of confounding people and 
humiliating them ? 

Because it is the truth. 

But then why am I neither confounded nor humiliated, 
while mamma always was ? 

Because my father is cleverer than mamma, but not as 
clever as I am. 

Besides, he has an immense respect for me, for he always 
gets the worst of it in a discussion with me ; and then my 
conversation is full of interest for a man buried in Russia, 
but still with sufficient intelligence to appreciate intelligence 
in another. 

I reminded him of my wish to see the society of Poltava, 
and I can see quite well by his replies that he doesn't 
want to show me m the society of whicn he is the ornament. 
It was only when I said that I particularly wanted it, that, 
he said my wishes should be granted, and set to work with 
the princess to make out a list of ladies whom we should 
have to call upon, 
o 2 



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194 MABIE BA8HKIKTSEFF 

" Madame M too," I said, " do you know her ? Yes 

but I don't visit her. She lives very quietly." 

" But I must go with you to see her. She knew me 
when I was little, and she is a friend of mamma's. And, 
besides, when she knew me I was an unformed little girl, and 
not externally taking, and I want to obliterate that unfavour- 
able impression." 

" Very well, then, we will go ... . only I wouldn't go 
if I were you." 

"Why not?" 

" Because . . . h'm ! . . . she might think . . . ." 

" Think what ? " 

" Oh ! all sorts of things . . . ." 

" No, tell me : I like people to be explicit ; hints try my 
patience." 

" She might think that you had designs . . . she will 
think that you would like her son for a suitor." 

" Gritz M ? Oh no, papa. She won't think so. 

And, besides, of course M is a very nice young man, 

the friend of my childhood, whom I am very fond of; but 
to marry him ! No, papa ; he isn't the sort of husband I 
want. Don't worry yourself" 

The Cardinal is dying. 

Wretched man ! . . . (I am speaking of his nephew.) 
We talked about courage at dinner, and I made an 
uncommonly true remark. I said that the man who is 
afraid and yet faces the danger is more courageous than the 
man who is not afraid ; the greater the fear, the greater the 
merit 

Sunday, August 27th (August 15tlt). — I have punished 
some one to day for the first time in my life — I mean 
Chocolat 

He wrote to his mother, and asked her permission to 
stop in Russia for much higher wages than what he gets 
from me. This ingratitude pained me on his account ; and 
so I summoned him, unmasked his baseness before every- 
body, and ordered him down on his knees. The youngster 
began to howl, and did not obey. So I was obliged to take 
him by the shoulders and knees ; and then, less from force 
than from shame, he went down on his knees, shaking a 
whatnot covered with Sfevres china as he did so. Then I 
stood up in the middle of the drawing-room and hurled 
the thunderbolts of my eloquence at him, and finished by 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 195 

spying that I should send him back to France through the 
agency of the negroes' consul, in the fourth class, with the 
sheep and oxen. 

"For shame, for shamo, Chocolat! You will come to a 
bad end ! Get up, fie, and be off ! " 

I had workea myself into genuine anger, and so when 
five minutes afterwards the monkey came to beg my pardon, 
I said that if he only repented under M. Paul s coaching, I 
would have none of his repentance. 

" No, I repent of my own accord." 

" You are sorry then, yourself ? " He rammed his fists into 
his eyes. 

"Tell me, Chocolat I shall not be angry." 

" Y . . es ! " 

" Very well, then, you may go. I forgive you. But don't 
you see that all this is for your good ? " 

Ah ! Chocolat will either be a great man or a great 
scoundrel. 

Monday, AuguM 28th (Atujitst 16th). — My father has gone 
to Poltava ; he was on duty. I tried to talk philosophy with 
the princess, but it degenerated into a talk aoout love, men* 
and kings. 

Michel brought over uncle Alexander, and Gritz came in 
later. 

There are some days when one feels ill at ease; this is 
one of them. 

' M brought a bouquet for the princess, and a moment 

afterwards, at dinner, he got into a discussion with Alexander 
about the breeding of sheep. 

" Gritz," said my father, " I much prefer you to talk of 
bouquets than of sheep." 

" Ah ! papa," said I, " you see it is the sheep that give us 
the bouquets." 

I meant nothing but the literal words; but every one 
looked up, and I blushed up to my ears. 

Then in the evening 1 very much wanted Alexander to 
see that Gritz was paying me attention, and I did not succeed. 
The fool would not leave Michel. 

Really he is stupid, and everybody here says so. I 
wished to defend him ; but this evening, whether from bad 
temper or from conviction, I am very much of everybody's 
opinion. 

When they had gone to the red house, I sat down at 
the piano, and poured out all my boredom and irritation 



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196 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

upon the keys. And now I am going to lied to dream 
of the Grand Duke Nicholas, which will perhaps amuse 
me. 

The moon here is insipid. I looked at it while they were 
firing off' the cannon. My father has gone to Kharkoff for 
two days. The cannons are one of his hobbies. He has nine 
of them, and they were being fired oft' this evening while I 
was looking at the moon. 

Tuesday, August 29th (Aiujmt VJth). — Yesterday I 
heard Paul say to uncle Alexander, as he winked at 
me — 

"If you only knew, uiy dear uncle! She has turned 
all Gavronzi upside down ! She has re-fashioned papa to her 
liking ! Everything yields before her ! " 

Have I really done all that ? All the better. 

I have been sleepy and bored since this morning. I do 
not yet allow I am bored, because I lack amusement or 
diversion. When I am bored I look for a cause, feeling sure 
that this more or less pronounced discomfort comes from 
something, and is not, on the other hand, simply the result of 
solitude or lack of amusement 

But here at Gavronzi I am in want of nothing, I have no 
regrets, everything turns out exactly as I want, and yet I am 
bored. Am I then to suppose simply that I am bored by the 
country ? Nescio. Oh, devil take it ! 

When they sat down to cards, I stopped in my studio 
with Michel and Gritz. Gritz is certainly different since 
yesterday. There is a certain constraint in his manner which 
I cannot make out 

The party to-morrow is postponed till Thursday, and he 
wants to go away on a long tour. 

I was preoccupied, and they told me so. For some time I 
have been hovering between two worlds. I don't hear when 
they speak to me. 

The gentlemen went to bathe in the river. The river at 
the bathmg-place is beautiful, deep, and shaded with trees. I 
stopped with the princess in the great balcony which makes 
a covered carriage entry. 

Amongst other things, the princess told me an odd story 
Yesterday Michel carue to her and said — 

" Mamma, let me get married." 

"To whom ?" 

" To Moussia." 

" Silly boy, you are onlv eighteen." 



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RUSSIA, 1876 197 

He insisted so seriously that she had to tell him to go to 
the devil. 

" Only, my dear Moussia," she added, " pray don't tell him, 
he would eat me up." 

The gentlemen found us still on the balcony, which 
attracted the heat fearfully. As for air, there isn't any to 
speak of, and not the slightest breath of wind in the evening. 
But the view is delightful Opposite are the red house, and 
summer-houses scattered about; the mountain to the right 
with the church halfway up quite hidden in the trees, and 
the family vault a little further on ; to the left the river, the 
fields, the trees, the horizon. And to think that all this 
belongs to us, that we are the sovereign lords of all this ; that 
all the houses, the church, the court which is like a little 
town — everything, everything belongs to us ; and the servants, 
nearly sixty in number ; and all ... . 

I waited impatiently for the end of dinner, because I 
wanted to get at Paul, and ask him for the meaning of 
certain words he had let fall at croquet which worried me 
disagreeably. 

" Didn't you notice," said Paul, " that Gritz has changed 
since yesterday ? " 

" 1 ? No, I didn't notice anything." 

" Well, I did, and Michel is at the bottom of it." 

"How?" 

" Michel is a good fellow, but has never met any women 
except at fast suppers, and doesn't know how to behave a bit ; 
besides, he has an evil tongue. Further, his tongue is too 
long — witness his story of the other day. He said ne wanted 
... In short, he is madly in love with you, and capable of any 
villainy. I spoke to uncle Alexander about it, and he said I 
ought to have pulled his ears for him. Aunt Nadine thinks 
so too. . . . Wait a bit! I tell you that Gritz has been 
persuaded by his mother or his friends that every one is 
trying to hook him for his great wealth. Well, up to yester- 
day he was praising you up to the skies ; and yesterday — of 
course I know that you don't want him, that you don't care 
a button (pardon the expression) about all that ; still, it is ' 
not nice. And it is always Michel that makes the tittle- 
tattle." 

" Yes, but what can one do ? " 

"Oh, you must .... you have quite enough cleverness 
for that, and more too ; you must say .... must make 
him understand; he is an ass, but he will understand that. 
In short, you must . . . When we are having dinner I 



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198 MARIE BASTIKIBTSEFF. 

will help you, and you will relate a story, or anything you 
like." 

That was iust mv idea. 

" Very well, Paul, we shall see." 

Alexander went to the theatre after us, and heard people 
talking of the arrival of " Bashkirtseft's girl, who is a great 
beauty." 

In the lobby he was taken in tow by Gritz, who talked 
enthusiastically about me. 

I couldn't help making up a tableau on the great staircase. 
I sat in the middle ; the gentlemen who came up with me 
sat lower on the stairs ; the prince on his knees. Have you 
seen the engraving of Goethe s Eleonore ? It was exactly like 
that, even to my aress. Only I did not look at anybody ; I 
looked at the lamps. 

If Paul had not put one of them out, we should have 
stayed for a long while like that. 

Good-night. Oh, how bored I am ! 

Wednesday, August 30th (August 18th). — Whilst the 
young men were running after the housekeeper with 
the fireworks, which they threw at her legs, the prin- 
cess, Alexander, and I were talking of Rome ana the Pope. 

I pretended to be uneasy, saying that the Cardinal was 
dead. 

I dreamed that Pietro A was dead. I went up to his 

bier, and put a topaz necklet with a golden cross round his 
neck. I nad scarcely done so when I noticed that the dead 
man was not Pietro. 

Death in dreams means marriage, I believe. You may 
imagine my annoyance, and with me annoyance shows itself 
in passiveness and complete silence. But woe to those who 
tease me, or even make me talk ! 

The conversation was on the morals of Poltava. Profli- 
gacy is much practised. There is a story — taken quite as 

matter of course — that Mme. M has been seen in the 

street at night in a dressing-gown with M. J . 

The young ladies behave with a lightness .... but when 
they began to broach the chapter on kissing, I began pacing 
the room. 

A young man was in love with a girl who loved him. 
After some time he married another, and when he was asked 
why he had changed in this way, he replied — 

" She has kissed me and she either has kissed or will kiss 
other men." 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 199 

" Quite right," said uncle Alexander. 

All men reason like that. 

Such reasoning is in the last degree unjust. The result is 
that I am in my own room, undressed, and maddened with 
vexation. 

It seemed to me that they were speaking at me. Then 
this is the cause of it ! 

In Heaven's name, let me be able to forget ! Good God ! 
have I committed some crime, that Thou tormentest me 
so? 

Lord, Thou doest right My conscience, which leaves me 
not a moment's peace, will heal me. 

What neither education, nor books, nor advice, could have 
taught, experience has taught ma 

I thank God for it ; ana I advise girls to be a little more 
canaille in their hearts, and to take care not to cherish any 
sentiment whatever. For men compromise them first of all, 
and then turn them into ridicule. 

The finer a feeling is, the more easily is it turned to 
ridicule ; the more sublime, the more ridiculous. And there 
is nothing in the world more ridiculous and degrading than 
ridiculed love. 

I shall go to Rome with my father ; I shall go into society, 
and then they shall see. 

A delightful outing. The prince's troika, notwithstanding 
uncle Alexander's weight, flew like lightning ; Michel drove. 
I love going fast ; the three horses took the bit in their teeth, 
and for several minutes I could not breathe for delight and 
excitement 

Then croquet kept us till dinner-time, about which time 

M turned up. I was already on the look-out for a 

"story," when the princess happened to mention the Miss 
R s. 

" They are very nice, but very unfortunate," said Gritz. 

« Why ? " 

" Because they do nothing but hunt for husbands with- 
out finding them. For example, they wanted to catch 
me." 

Here everybody burst out laughing. 

" Catch you ? " they asked. " Did you charm them so 
much ? " 

" Well, I think . . . however, they soon saw that I wouldn't 
have them." 

" Really," said I, " what a very unfortunate position to be 



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200 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

in! to say nothing of its being intolerable for the other 
people ! " 

Every one laughed, and exchanged looks that were any- 
thing but flattering to M . 

Ah ! you see, when a man is an ass, it is a great mis- 
fortune. 

I noticed the same constraint in his behaviour this even- 
ing as there was yesterday. Perhaps he was thinking that 
some one was wanting to " catch him." 

And the cause of all this — MicheL 

Gritz scarcely dared speak to me from the other side of 
the drawing-room, and it was not till half-past nine that he 
ventured to approach me. I smiled contemptuously. 

Oh, what a fool he is to be such a fool! I was 
stiff and severe, and gave the signal to break up the 
evening. 

I am quite sure that Michel is priming him with 
all kinds of nonsense. The princess told, me, "You 
have no idea what Michel is capable of. He is sly and 
base." 

Oh, what a misfortune it is to be a fool ! 

Thursday, August 31st {August 19th). — Paul came to me 
quite upset to say that papa had refused to allow the picnic 
in the forest 

I slipped on a dressing-gown, and went to papa to say 
that we should go. 

In about three minutes I had talked him over. 

After no end of comical misunderstandings we started for 
the forest, I being in an excellent frame of mind, contrary 
to all expectation. Gritz was as natural as on the tirst 
day, and our strained and unpleasant relations no longer 
exist 

We fared as comfortably in the forest as if we had been at 
home. Everybody was hungry, and had a capital appetite, 
making merry at Michel's expense all the time. For he 
ought to have been the man to make all the arrangements for 
the picnic, only he shamefully backed out of it this morning, 
and the provisions came from Gavronzi. 

Several squibs were let off, and then a Jew was got to tell 
a lot of nonsense. In Russia the Jew is a being midway 
between a dog and an ape. The Jews can do everything, and 
are made use of for everything. We borrow their money, 
beat them, intoxicate them, entrust business to them, and 
make fun of them. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 201 

When I got back to my room I was so depressed that I 
should have spent the night in crying from sympathy had 
not Amalia begun gossiping, and directed my thoughts into 
another channel 

Always cut short your temper ; it avoids scenes, tears, and 
grovelling. 

And I hate making scenes of that kind. 

Poor Gritz ! just now I pity him ; he departed rather 
unwell. 

Saturday, September 2nd (Augunt 21^)- — I fainted with 
the heat, and when two " crocodiles " from Poltava arrived 
about dinner-time, I got myself up very gorgeously, although 
my spirits were very low. There was a display of fireworks, 
wnich we saw from the gallery, hung all round with Venetian 
lanterns ; so was the court, and the red house. 

My father then suggested a stroll, as the night was a very 
fine one. I changed my dress, and we went into the village. 
We sat down outside tne inn, and woke up a tiddler and a 
mad fellow to dance. But the fiddler was only accustomed to 
play the second violin, and could not be got to understand 
that the first violin wasn't there, and insisted on playing 
second. At the end of half an hour a move was made to the 
house with perfidious intent — especially my father, Paul, and 
I, who climbed up to the top of the belfry by a wretched 
ladder, and began to ring the fire-alarm ; I pulled with all 
my might I had never been so near to the bells before. 
W hen you try to speak while they are vibrating, you feel at 
first a kind of terror, for the words seem to die away on your 
lips as in a nightmare. 

All this wasn't particularly interesting, and I was very 
glad tQ get back to my room, where my father came in, and 
we had a very long talk. 

But I was depressed, and, instead of talking, I cried the 
whole time. Amongst other things he spoke to me about 

M , saying that mamma had undoubtedly chosen him for 

me as an excellent match ; but that, for his part, he wouldn't 

move a finger to bring it about, because M was nothing 

but an animal with money. I hastened to reassure him ; and 
then we talked of all sorts of things. My father rather tried 
to be restive, but I didn't give m an inch, and we got on 
admirably. Besides, for several days now there has con- 
stantly been a refined delicacy in his bearing towards me ; and 
in his harsh dry way he has said such tender things that I 
have been touched by it. 



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202 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

I had no scruples as regards my aunt T I told my 

father plainly that she ruled him, and that therefore I could 
not feel sure of him. 

" Me ? " he cried. " Not at alL Besides, she is the one ot 
all my sisters whom I like least Be easy; when she sees 
ou here she will fawn upon you like a dog, and you will have 
er at your feet" 



E 



Sunday, September 3rd (August 22nd). — It seems that I 
am having a tine time. I have been carried in a carpet 
like Cleopatra; I have tamed a horse like Alexander; 
and I have painted like — some one who is not yet 
Raphael. 

We went net-fishing in a large party this morning. 
Stretched on a rug (I must say this, because I don't want to 
be suspected of rolling myself in the dust) on the river-bank 
— the water is lovely and deep here — under the trees, eating 
water-melons, which the " crocodiles " brought from Poltava, 
we passed two hours, more or less pleasantly. As we came 
home I acted Cleopatra, and was carried in my rug as far as 
the railing, and there Michel and Kapitanento improvised 
a litter by joining their hands ; after that Pacha carried me by 
himself. Having thus exhausted all the methods of getting 
along, I found myself at the foot of the great staircase, which 
I walked up alone, Michel being invariably entangled in the 
end of ray train. 

I looked charming when I appeared at luncheon; I am 
speaking of my dress — a Neapolitan chemise of sky-blue 
China crape and old lace, a very long skirt of white silk, 
with a great piece of striped Oriental stuff, white, blue, and 
gold, draped m front and knotted behind. All the rest of 
the stuff fell naturally, just as a sheet does if you put it on 
like an apron. Nothing more pretty and fantastic can be 
imagined. 

While some of them squandered their breath in card- 
playing, and others in abusing the heat, somebody or other 
mentioned the greys, boasting of their youth, strength, and 
vigour. 

For several days there has been some talk of my riding 
one of them, but everybody raised such a number of fears 
that I let it pass. However, to-day, partly because I was 
angry with my cowardice, and partly to give the " crocodiles " 
something new to talk about, I ordered the animal to be 
saddled. 

Whilst I was playing, my father, who was lying on 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 203 

the grass, did nothing but look from me to the " crocodiles " 
and blink He was satisfied with the impression I made. 

My outlandish though charming costume was set oft* 
still more by a white silk handkerchief which I put on 
my head, low in front and fastened behind, with the ends 
coming back to the front as the Egyptian women wear them, 
quite covering the nape and the rest of the neck. The 
horse was brought out, and a chorus of objections arose. 
At last Kapitanenko, remembering his service in the mounted 
regiment, got on, but from the first step he was so shaken 
that the charitable lookers-on began to laugh as idiotically 
as possible. 

The horse reared, stopped still, ran away, and Kapita- 
nenko declared in the midst of the general amusement that 
I might mount the horse — in three months. I looked at the 
quivering animal, in whose skin the veins stood out every 
moment like ripples made in water by the wind, and I 
said to myself, " Now, my dear, you are going to show off your 
false bravery, like a real 'young lady/ The 'crocodiles' 
won't have anything to relate of you. You are afraid ? All 
the better. The only really brave people are those who 
are afraid, and walk straight up to the thing they fear all 
the same. Courage doesn t consist in doing a thing which 
other people fear, but which doesn't frighten you. No, the 
only true courage lies in compelling yourself to do something 
you are afraid o£" 

I ran up-stairs four steps at a time, put on my black 
habit and a velvet cap, and came down to mount again on 
horseback. 

I rode at a walking pace round the grass, Kapitanenko 
by my side on another horse. Finding the eyes of the 
lookers-on levelled at me, I rode back to the house-steps 
to reassure them. My father got up into a dog-cart with 
one of the gentlemen, the others found seats in the prince's 
troika, and, followed by these two vehicles. I rode into the 
long avenue. I don't know how it happened, but quite 
naturally I set off at a gallop, first gently ana then headlong ; 
then falling into a trot, I rode back to the carriages to gather 
up compliments. 

I was enchanted, and my purple face seemed to emit 
fire, as did my horse's nostrils. I was radiant. A horse that 
had never been ridden ! 

In the evening there were fireworks, the houses were 
illuminated and with my initials visible everywhere. There 
was a village band, and peasants danced under the gallery. 



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204 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

The table was laid on the other side of the house, and 
we passed through a crowd of inquisitive eyes. 

44 Why, it is a regular church procession," said a woman in 
the crowd, " and there is our Lord's body." 

As a matter of fact we were lignted by torches, and 
Michel was carrying my train. You know that on Good 
Friday a painted banner is carried about representing the 
body of Jesus. 

Michel performed some gymnastic feats, while the village 
lads looked at him stupefied, as they hung on to ropes 
and swings, looking, in the darkness, like so many hanged 
people, such as you see on sinister and half-effaced en- 
gravings. 

I was surrounded by these rustics. I am wrong to call 
them rustics, for they paid court to me — both men and 
women — in a most courtly way, and showered compliments on 
me after this pattern : — 

" The horse this afternoon was very fine, but the rider far 
surpassed it." 

You know I love to mix in low life; I talked to them 
about everything, and very nearly began to dance too. Ah ! 
but this peasant-dance of our people — they look so submissive 
and simple, but they are as deep as Italians in reality — is a 
regular Parisian cancan ; and a most seductive one, to say no 
more of it. They don't, it is true, kick their legs up to their 
nose — which is a hideously ugly performance — but the man 
and woman twist about, approach and pursue each other, 
accompanied by gestures, snrill cries, and sudden smiles, 
which send a shiver down one's back 

The girls dance little, and very simply. 

They had something to drink, and after leaving these 
amiable savages I intended to go to bed ; but on the staircase 
I stopped as I did the other night, and Paid and the others 
grouped themselves on the steps. Chocolat sang us a Nice 
song, to my great satisfaction. 

After the song came music. 

I got the most incredible sounds out of the violin, and 
these shrill, pathetic, discordant and intermingling tones made 
me roar with laughter, and my laughter, with this savage ac- 
companiment, made the others, even Chocolat, split their sides. 

Thursday, September 7 th (diigtist 26th). — The every-day 
dress of a girl in Little Russia consists of a stout linen shirt 
with large puffed sleeves, embroidered in red and blue; a 
piece of black cloth made by the peasants wrapped about 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 205 

them from the waist downwards. This wrap is shorter 
than the shirt, and leaves the embroidery visible at the 
lower edge. The piece of cloth is only fastened by a waist- 
band of coloured wooL 

They wear a number of necklaces, and a ribbon round 
their head. The hair is plaited into a braid, from the end of 
which hang one or several ribbons. 

I sent to the peasants to buy a similar costume. Then I 
dressed in it, and, accompanied by our young men, I went 
into the village. The peasants did not recognise me, for I was 
not dressed like a young lady ; but I looked very handsome 
and well dressed as a peasant — a peasant girl, that is. The 
married women are attired differently. As to my feet, they 
were clad in black shoes with red heels. 

I nodded to everybody, and when we reached the inn we 
sat down near the door. 

It was my father's turn to be surprised .... but he was 
delighted. 

" Everything becomes her ! " he exclaimed, and making us 
all four get up into his vehicle he drove us about the streets. 
I shouted witn laughter, to the great amazement of those good 
people, who asked each other who the handsome peasant girl 
was, driving about with " the old seigneur " and " the young 
gentlemen. 

Set yourselves at rest. Papa is by no means old. 

A Chinese tam-tam, a violin, ana a musical-box, were our 
evening's amusements. 

Michel drummed on the tam-tam, I played the violin 
(played ! good heavens !), and the box playea of its own accord. 

Instead of going to bed early, as usual, the author of my 
being stopped up with us till midnight. If I have made no 
one else's conquest, I have made the conquest of my father. 
When he talks he looks for my approval, he listens atten- 
tively to what I say, he lets me say wnat I like about T , 

and decides in my favour. 

The musical-box is his present to the princess ; we have 
all given her something. It is her birthday. The servants 
are aelighted to wait upon me, and to be rid of the " French 
people." I even order the dinner! And to think that I 
thought myself in a strange house, and was anxious about 
the ways and hours ! 

They wait for me as if I were at Nice, and I fix the hours 
myself 

My father loves gaiety, and his own people have not given 
him much of it. 



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206 MARIE BASHK1RTSEFF. 

Friday, September Sth (August 27th). — Miserable fear, I 
will conquer you ! Did I not take it into my head yesterday 
to be afraid of a gun ? It is true that Paul had loaded it, 
and I didn't know how much powder he had put in ; and 
then I was not acquainted with the weajxm. It might burst, 
and it would be a stupid way of dying — or I might be 
disfigured. 

All the worse: it is only the first step that counts. 
Yesterday I fired at fifty paces, and I have fired to-day 
without any sort of fear. I think — Heaven forgive me ! — 
that I hit the mark each time. 

If I succeed with Paul's portrait, it will be a miracle, lor 
he doesn't sit to me, and to-day I only worked for a quarter 
of an hour by myself Not quite by myself, though, for 
Michel was opposite me, and dares to have fallen m love 
with me. 

All this took us on to nine o'clock. I dawdled, 
and dawdled, because I saw how impatient my father 
was. I knew quite well that he was only waiting for us 
to leave the drawing-room to fly into the forest — like a 
wol£ 

I held my court on the stairs again. ... I like staircases, 
because you mount them. . . . Pacha ought to leave to- 
morrow, but I managed so well this evening that perhaps 
he will stay, though it would be much better for him to go. 
Loving me like a sister is dangerous for a clown, a dreamer, 
and a melancholy youth of twenty-two. I couldn't get on 
better with him and Michel, which makes him love me 
much. But when I am with men who are fools I grow 
stupid; I don't know how to make myself intelligible to 
them, and I am afraid every moment lest they should 
imagine I am in love with them — like poor Gritz, for instance. 
He thinks that all the girls want to " catch him," and behind 
the least smile he detects an ambush and conspiracy against 
his celibacy. Do you even happen to know the etymology of 
this word celibate? 

C(jdeb8 in Latin means " forlorn." It also comes from the 
Greek word koilos, meaning " hollow, empty ! " 

Oh ! you celibates — hollow, empty, forlorn ! 

I had scarcely heard my father decamp than I burst in 
on the princess, where I rolled about on her bed, combed 
Pacha's hair, patted Michel on the head, and in short 
talked so much nonsense that I am quite astounded to this 
hour. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 207 

God, don't let me get to hate Pacha, the good lad ! he 
is so upright ! 

They have been reading Poushkine out loud, and have 
talked about love. 

Ah ! I should like to love, to know what it is like. 
Or have I ever loved already ? In that case, love is 
a great misery, which one only takes up to — fling 
away. 

" You will never love," said my father. 

" If it were true," I replied, " I should thank Heaven for 
it." 

1 should like to, and yet I shouldn't. And yet in 
my dreams nevertheless / do love. Yes, but an imaginary 
hero. 

As for A ? I love him? No ; do people love like 

that ? No. Even if he were not the Cardinal's nephew, if he 
were not surrounded by priests, monks, ruins . . . and the 
Pope, I should not love him. 

But there, what need is there to explain ? You know all 
about it, better than I do ; you know quite well that the 

operatic music and A in the barcaecia produced a 

charming effect ; and you ought also to be aware of the power 
of music. It was pastime, but not love. 

When shall I love ? I am going to divert myself a while 
longer in bestowing the superfluous affection of my heart on 
all sides, in being enthusiastic, in crying — and all about 
trifles. 

Saturday, September 9th (Atigust 28th). — The days slip 
away, and I am losing a precious portion of the best years of 
my life. 

Family gatherings, delightful diversions, a gaiety of which 
I am the life and soul .... And then I let Michel and the 
other man carry me in an arm-chair up and down the great 
staircase, admiring my shoes in the looking-glass on the way 
down, and every day the same. 

Oh ! how wearisome it is ! Not a single intelligent re- 
mark, not a word such as one would get from a cultured 
man ! I am unfortunately a blue stocking, and I love to 
hear talk about the classics and science. . . Where can I 
get that here ? Cards and nothing else. I should shut 
myself up to read ; only, considering that my object here 
is to make myself liked, it would be rather an odd. way of 
attaining it. 
p 



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208 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

As soon as ever I settle down for the winter I shall begin 
to study again as I used to. 

In the evening we had a sauabble about servants with 
Paul. My father encouraged tne valet I reprimanded 
(that's the word) my father, and my father swallowed the 
reprimand. There's vulgarity for you ! However my journal 
is full of it I beg you to believe that I am not vulgar 
because I am vulgar and don't know any better. I adopted 
this hurried style to save time, and also because it is so 
expressive. 

There was displeasure in the air ; I was vexed, 
and my voice had those tremulous tones which forecast a 
storm. 

Paul doesn't know how to behave himself, and I can see 
that as regards him my mother had good cause to feel un- 
happy. 

Sunday, September 10th (August 29th). — My Royal High- 
ness, my rather, brother, and two cousins, set oft' to-day for 
Poltava. 

I am perfectly satisfied with myself; everybody yields 
to me, flatters me, and, best of all, loves me. My father, 
who at first wanted to dethrone me, has now almost entirely 
come to see why sovereign honours are rendered to me as 
my due, and, with the exception of some slight puerile 
harshness which is natural to him, he renders them him- 
self 

This man, usually so hard, so entirely a stranger to every 
domestic feeling, gives vent to outbursts of paternal tender- 
ness towards me which astonish everybody about him. Paul 
has developed a twofold respect for me ; and as I am kind to 
everybody, everybody likes me. 

" You have changed so much since you came here," said 
my father to-day. 

" In what way ? " 

" Well, h'm ! . . . I mean that if you will get rid ot 
certain unimportant angularities (I have them myself in my 
character), you will be all that can be desired — a perfect 
treasure." 

In other words. . . Well, only those who really know the 
man can appreciate the significance of these words. 

And this evening he took me in his aims and tenderly 
kissed me (a most unheard-of thing, according to Paul), and 
said — 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 209 

" See, Michel, all of you, what a dear daughter I have ! . . 
Here is a girl worthy to be loved." 

" Am I not, papa ? I am a treasure." 

" Michel, I promise you shall marry my daughter. Look 
forward to the honour. Perhaps she will be a princess of the 
blood." 

I am writing from Poltava. It has rained all day, and 
when we had to climb that diabolical mountain, which is half- 
way here, the horses almost refused to obey ; so my father 
got on the box, and the coachman got down and ran by the 
side in the mud, and whipped up the horses to a gallop to pre- 
vent their having time to think about the difficulty. The 
noise of the bells, the crack of the whip, the shouts of the 
footman, the coachman, and papa, the mute astonishment of 
Chocolat — it was an exciting scene ; it reminded me of a close 
race drawing to an end. We reached town at eight o'clock, 
and went straight to the prince's house. He had left at five 
o'clock this morning so that his house might be ready. 
It is a small house, very plain on the outside, but charming 
inside. Nothing was vet finished ; the carpet was down ; 
the lamps, the plate glass, the beds, the wine, bought and 
arranged 

In all Russian houses there is a hall beyond the ante- 
room, and this hall is all white ; then a delightful drawing- 
room, in dark red, and a bed-room for me, full of all needful 
and pleasing details, delicate attentions at every turn. Just 
imagine, on the dressing-table I found powder and rouge ! 

All this took up the time till seven o'clock. At seven 
o'clock it turned out that there was nothing to eat ! And 
when we came in, Michel pretended that he had not expected 
us any longer, lied very awkwardly, and, owing to our pitiless 
chaffing, remained ill at ease all through dinner, which was 
brought in from the club at about ten o'clock. Gilded 
champagne cups led me into temptation ; I took two, which 
heightened my beauty and loosened my tongue in a curious 
way, just enough to produce animation, tnough indeed I 
had been animated all day. 

My father's plan has fallen through ; the people he wanted 
to introduce to me are out of town. 

When we had got rid of Michel, we talked about the 
idiotic conduct of Gntz. 

" What an ass he is ! " I said to myself. " Just think of 
it," I remarked to my father and brother. " Is it likely, with 
my ambitions, after having read, studied, seen the world, I 

should go and marry M ? " 

p 2 



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210 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" H'm ! " said my father, " yes, of course he is a 
fool." 

And he looked at nie, not knowing whether he ought 
to look contemptuous, or to say what I know he was 
thinking — 

" M would be a very good match — even for you." 

And now let me go to bed, in the bed which the prince 
made with his own hands. 

" Le tea fatto il letto ! " cried Ainalia. " Un princvpe / 
Dio ! lei e proprio wiia regina I " 

At this moment I heard shrieks. ... It was Amalia 
howling because Paul had opened the window which faces 
the gallery, and looked at her oathing. What a boy ! Pacha 
and the prince have been asleep a long time. 

I have scarcely room for my MS. book — the table is so 
laden with phials, flagons, powder-boxes, brushes, sachets, &c. 

Intoxicated by my success as a daughter, I said to my- 
self, "Those who don't love me are clowns, and those who 
love me basely are scoundrels ! " 

Tuesday, September 12th (Augiutt 31*0- — A c i ft y at 
Poltava, wonderful to say. Not knowing what else to do, 
my father took me on foot about the town, and we had the 
luck to see Peter the Great's column in the middle of the 
public garden. 

At midnight yesterday we left Poltava, and to-day, 
Tuesday, we are at Kharkoff. The journey was a pleasant 
one. We took a railway carriage by storm. 

I was waked near Kharkoff by a bouquet from Prince 
MicheL 

Kharkoff is a large town lighted by gas. The hotel we 
are at is " The Grand," and justifies its nama The landlord 
is Andrieux, and it provides eveiy comfort. It is here, too, 
that the golden youth sup, lunch, dine, get drunk, and 
fraternise, with the innkeeper, who notwithstanding does not 
presume. I wonder at that. They have queer customs here. 

I had my hair dressed by Louis, another of those French 
torturers. 

Then tea, and gingerbread .... 

Yes, and I visiter! a menagerie, and the poor beasts shut 
up in cages made me feel sad. 

I saw my uncle Nicholas, the youngest of the family, who 
pretends he is studying medicine. Poor uncle ! he used to 
help me in old days to play with dolls, and I fought him and 
pulled his ears. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 211 

I kissed him, ready to cry. " Come in," I said, " no need 
of ceremony. Papa aoesn't like you, but I do with all my 
heart I am always the same, only a little bigger ; that's all. 
Dear Nicholas, I can't ask you to lunch, because I am not 
alone, and there are all sorts of strangers about, but be sure 
and come back to-morrow." 

I went into our private dining-room, quite upset 

" You needn't worry about it," said my fatner. " If you 
wished it, you could have asked him. Only I should have 
found an ingenious excuse for taking myself off." 

" Father, you are unkind to-day. It is no use saying any 
more about it That will do ! " 

My father's timidity gave way before my dry heat, and no 
more was said. 

Tlmrsduy, September \Wt (September 2nd). — Pacha's 
departure was talked about, as he came and went changing 
his guns, for he is a great hunter before the Lord, like 
Nimrod. My father begged him to stay ; but when once his 
headstrong nature has said no, he won't abate an inch for 
anybody. 

I have named him the Green Man, because his illusions 
are so youthful I say quite frankly, because I am certain, 
that the Green Man looks upon me as something unique. 
I told him to stay. 

" Don't ask me to stay, please," he said, " because I shan't 
be able to obey you." 

I begged in vain, and I should not have been sorry to 
keep him, especially as I knew it was impossible. 

At the station we found Lola, her mother, and uncle 
Nicholas, who had come to see me off. 

There was an enormous crowd, because fifty-seven volun- 
teers were leaving for Servia. I walked about the station, 
sometimes with Paul, sometimes with Lola, sometimes with 
Michel, Pacha — and, in fact, everybody in turn. 

" Well, really, Pacha is not agreeable," said Lola, on learn- 
ing what the matter was. 

Then, constraining myself not to laugh, I went up to the 
Green Man and made him a little speech, looking very cold 
and offended. As the tears were in his eyes, and I ielt in- 
clined to laugh, I came away for fear of destroying the effect 
by laughing right out 

We could scarcely get about, and only reached our com- 
partment with great difficulty. 

I was diverted by this crowd after the country aud placed 



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212 MARIE BASHKTBT8EFF. 

lnyseli by the window. They pushed, and drove, and shouted, 
and I was looking on, when I stopped short, for all at once 
there arose the sound of a choir of boys' voices, more beauti- 
ful and purer than any woman's, lliey were chanting an 
anthem, and seemed like an angelic choir. 

They were the Archbishop's choristers, praying for the 
volunteers. 

Every one uncovered his head, and the tuneful voices in so 
divine a harmony took my breath away ; and when they had 
finished, and I saw everybody clapping their hands and 
waving their hats and handkerchiefs, with eyes full of en- 
thusiasm and chests heaving with emotion, 1 could but do 
likewise, and shout " Hurrah ! " like them, and laugh and cry. 
The shouts lasted several minutes, and did not cease till 
the choir struck up the Russian hymn, " Boje, zorut vh-ravi" 
But prayers for the Emperor sounded flat after those for 
the men who were going to face death in succouring their 
brothers. 

And the Emperor leaves the Turks alone. Good God ! 
The train started in the midst of frantic shouts. Then I 
turned round, and saw Michel laughing, and heard my father 
say, " Dourak ! " instead of " Hurrah ! " 

" Papa, Michel, is it possible ? Why don't you cheer ? 
Good heavens ! what are you made of ? " 

" Aren't you going to say good-bye to me ? " said Pacha, 
stiff and red. 

The train was already moving. 

" Good-bye, Pacha," I said, holding out my hand. He 
seized it ana kissed it silently. 

Michel is playing the iealous lover. I watch him when 
he looks at me for a long while, and then flings his hat on the 
ground and savagely takes himself off. I watch him and I 
laugh. 

So I am back again at this detestable Poltava. I know 
Kharkoff much better, for I lived there a year before ffoing 
to Vienna. I remember all the streets and all the shops. 
This afternoon at the station I recognised a doctor wno 
had attended grandmamma, and I went up and spoke 
to him. 

He was surprised to find me grown up, although uncle 
Nicholas had already spoken of me in his hearing. 

I want to go back to the South. " Know'st thou the land 
where the orange is in bloom ? " — not Nice, but Italy. 

Friday September 15th (Septeniber 3rd). — This morning 

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RUSSIA, 1876. 213 

Paul brought me little fitienne, uncle Alexander's son. I 
did not recognise him at first. I paid no attention to what 
amount of pleasure or the reverse the sight of a Babanine 

ffave my father, but devoted myself to the pretty little 
ad. 

At last my father took me to see the Poltava nota- 
bilities. 

We went first to call on the Prefect's wife. She is a 
woman of the world, very pleasant indeed, so is the Pre- 
fect. He had a committee going on, but came in to the 
drawing-room, and told my father that committees did not 
count when there was such a charming young lady to 
be seen. 

The Prefect's wife came with us as far as the ante-room, 
and then we resumed our search for desirable people. 

We called on the Vice-Governor, on the principal of the 
institute for young ladies of the nobility, on Mine. Volko- 
vitsky (Kotchoubey's daughter) ; the latter is very lady-like. 
Then I took a cab and went to See uncle Alexander, who is 
at the hotel here with his wife and children. 

Oh, how nice to be among one's own people again! 
No fear of either criticism or scandal here. Perhaps my 
father's family seems to me cold and unsympathetic by 
contrast with ours, which is unusually intimate, united, and 
affectionate. 

Talking now of business matters, now of love, and now of 
scandal, I spent two very happy hours, at the end of which 
my father's messengers blegan to arrive. But as I told them I 
was not yet inclined to go, he came himself; and then I teased 
him for more than half an hour, dawdling, looking for pins, 
my handkerchief, &c. &c. 

However, we started at last, and when I thought he had 
calmed down a little I said — 

" We have been guilty of great discourtesy." 

" What discourtesy ? " 

" We have been to see everybody except Mme. M -, who 

knows mamma, and who knew me as a child." 

This remark led to a conversation, ending in a refusal 

As the Prefect asked me how long I was goimj to 
stay with my father, I said I hoped to take him oack 
witn me. 

" You heard what the Prefect said when you said you 
wanted to take me back with you ? " inquired the illustrious 
author of my being. 

"What* was that? ' 



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214 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" He said I should have to get a permit from the Minister 
as a nucricltal de la nobU&ie" 

" Very well, then, be quick and ask him for it so that 
nothing may detain us here too long." 

" Very well" 

* Then you are coming with me ? " 

" Yes." 

" Speaking seriously ? " 

It was past eight o'clock, and the darkness of the carriage 
allowed me to say all I wanted without my wretched face 
interfering. 

Saturday, September 16th (September 4//t). — Notwithstand- 
ing all, I remain pleased. The flattery of the Governor and 
his wife has raised me in my father's estimation. Besides, he 
is flattered by the effect I produce ; and I am not sorry my- 
self when they say" You know, BashkirtsefTs daughter is a great 
beauty." (Poor creatures ! can they never have seen anything !) 

Sunday, September 17th. — Gavronzi. — While awaiting my 
future celebrity I have been shooting, in masculine attire, 
with a game-bag slung round my neck. 

We — my father, Paul, the prince, and I — started about two 
o'clock in a waggonette. 

Now, I find it hard work to give a description because I 
don't know the names of — of anything that belongs to sport — 
the briars, the reeds, the grasses, the wood so thick that we 
could scarcely get through it, the branches which belaboured 
us on all sides, and a beautifully fresh air; no sun, and a 
sprinkle of rain especially made to charm sportsmen — when 
they are hot 

We walked on and on and on. 

I walked round a little lake with my gun loaded and 
ready to fire, hoping every moment to see a duck rise. But 
nothing did. I was alreaay asking myself whether I should 
not fire oft* my gun at the lizards that were darting over my 
feet, or at Michel, who was walking behind me, and whose 
eyes, I could feel, were fixed upon my person in masculine 
garb with the most guilty thoughts. 

I found the happy mean — the happy mean that France 
cannot find — I killed a raven which was perched on the top of 
an oak without thinking of any such thing, especially as it 
was devoting its attention to my father and Michel, who 
were lying in the middle of the glade. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 215 

I pulled the feathers out of his tail and made myself a 
tuft 

The others did not shoot once ; they did nothing but walk. 

Paul killed a thrush, and that was the sum of our 
shooting. 

If a mother who thinks her child dead, and dead through 
her fault, who is not certain it is dead, and dare not speak 
of it for fear of finding her fears well founded — if she 
suddenly tinds again her lamented child who has caused 
her so much agony, so many doubts, and so much pain, that 
mother ought to be happy. It seems to me that her feeling 
must be very much the same as mine when I recover my 
voice after each attack of hoarseness. 

After laughing very heartily in the drawing-room, I 
stopped for a moment, and all at once found I could &ing. 

I owe this to Dr. Walitzky's remedy. 

Tuesday, September 19th. — I am depressed with hearing 
accusations agamst my relatives, which nurt me without my 
being able to take umbrage. I could easily stop mv father's 
mouth if it wasn't for this miserable cfread of losing my 
end by doing so. ... He is kind to me — I am very 
good to say so. How could he be otherwise towards a 
daughter who is clever, well read, pleasant, gentle, and 
gooa-tempered (for I am all that at present, and he has 
said so himself), who asks him for nothing, who has come 
to pay him a graceful visit, and who gratifies his vanity in 
every way? 

When I got back to my room, I wanted to fling myself on 
the floor and cry. I restrained myself, however, and it passed 
off. That is what I shall always da You must not allow 
insignificant people the power of making you suffer. When I 
suffer, I lose my self-respect. I hate to think that So-and-so 
has had the power to hurt me. 

Never mind. Notwithstanding everything, life is still the 
best thing there is in the world. 

Friday, September 22nd. — Certainly, I am having enough 
of it ! The country enervates, stupefies me. I told my father 
so ; and when I said that I should like to marry a king, he 
began proving to me that it was impossible, and renewing his 
attacks on my family. I did not agree with him. ^Grant- 
ing even that you can say certain things to yourself, you 
mustn't let other people say them.) 

I told him that Madame T had invented all that. I 



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216 MARIE BASHKntTSEFF. 

don't spare her, this good aunt of mine, and I have taken the 
right steps to undermine her influence. 

Oh, Kome! the Pincio rising like an island above the 
Campagna intersected with aqueducts, the Porto del Popolo, 
the obelisk, the churches of Cardinal Gastolo (one on each 
side of the entrance to the Corso), the Corso, the Palazzo della 
Repubblica Veneziana ; then the sombre and narrow streets, 
the palaces blackened by the passage of centuries, the ruins of 
a little temple of Minerva, ana last, not least, the Coliseum ! I 
seem to see it all. I shut my eyes and I cross the city, I 
visit the ruins, I see .... 

I am just the opposite of those who say that " Out of sight 
is out of mind." Even when an object is barely out of my 
sight, it acquires a two-fold value ; I see all its details, I 
admire, I love it, 

1 have travelled a good deal, and have seen many towns, 
but only two have thoroughly roused my enthusiasm. 

The first is Baden-Baden, where I passed two summers 
when a child ; I still remember those lovely gardens. 

The second is Rome. Rome gives one a very different 
impression ; but, if possible, a stronger one. 

Rome is like certain people whom you don't care for at 
first, but for whom your liking gradually increases. That is 
why affection of this kind is so solid, and grows very dear 
without any loss of passion. 

I love Rome ; Rome only. 

And Saint Peter's ! — Saint Peter's when a ray of sunlight 

Sierces through the roof and falls on the pavement, making 
eep shadows and long streaks of light, as even as the archi- 
tecture of its columns and its altars. A ray of sunlight 
which, with the help of these shadows only, erects a temple 
of light within this temple of marble ! 

1 close my eyes and am transported to Rome .... 
and it is night, and to-morrow the " hippopotamuses " will 
come from Poltava. I must be beautiful .... I will 
be 

The country has done me an immense deal of good ; my 
complexion has never been so clear and fresh. 

Kome ! . . . . and I am not going to Rome ? . . . . Why 
not ? Because I do not wish to. And if you knew what this 
resolve has cost me, you would be sorry for me. Come .... 
I am weeping for it 

Sunday, September 2Uh, 1876. — It is beginning to get 

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RUSSIA, 1876. 217 

cold, and it went considerably against the grain to have 
myself called at seven o'clock. At eight I was still trying 
to snatch a few last moments, and at nine I was in the 
dining-room, my black velvet cap on my head, and my black 
riding-habit tucked up to show my monogram embroidered 
on the top of my boots. 

All the sportsmen were there — Kamenski, a Porthos ; 
Volkovitski, a fury from Iphigenia in Tauris ; Pavelka, a 
horrid lawyer ; Salko, a frightful architect ; Schwabs, the 
owner of seventeen setters ; Liou bo witch, a Tehinovvik, 
almost as huge a creature as Kamenski ; a man whose 
name I don't know ; my father, Michel, and Paul. 

The whole lot were examining their guns, discussing 
cartridges, drinking tea, and exchanging jokes which were 
as insipid as they were vulgar. I except my father and our 
two youths. 

I took my place beside my father and our two guns : four 
carriages followed close behind. 

Do you know how a wolf-hunt is conducted in Russia ? 
In the first place, pardon me if I commit unsportsmanlike 
solecisms, for I don't know one word about it. 

Well, this is what takes place : — Notice of the hunt is 

fiven a week before to the district by the Starosta or 
ailift', in order to get enough men to come. There was 
a fair on at Poltava, so only a hundred and twenty came. 
There are more than two hundred men, and the nets 
were set over a space of six or eight kilometres. Prince 
Kotchoubey sent nis nets, as he could not come to the 
meet himself. 

I was shivering. My father placed us all, without distinc- 
tion, on each side of the road, counted us, and divided us into 
two parties — the armed and the unarmed There were about 
a score among the peasants who had guns ; to the others they 
distributed pikes — that is to say, long sticks with an iron 
fleur-de-lys at the end, as among the ancient Gauls. These 
pikes are intended to kill, in a cowardly wuy, the beast which 
is caught in the nets. 

The nets are set in such a way as to catch the animal, 
frightened by the shouts of the men, as soon as it passes 
beyond the hunters who are lying in wait in the front. 

The hunt is just beginning. The mounted Polish inten- 
dant, in an oil-cloth cap shaped like a helmet, and with his 
pike in hand — the said pike rising above his head and touch- 
ing the ground, notwithstanding his being on horseback — 
gallops hither and thither, and does nothing. 



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218 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

I load my gun, adjust my game-bag (which contains a 
handkerchief and a pair of gloves), cougn . . . and then 
I am ready. 

So here I am, alone, in the middle of the forest, with a 
gun loaded and ready in my hands, dampness in my feet, and 
cold everywhere, my steel-tipped heels were sinking into the 
ground, which was sodden with yesterday's rain, and increased 
the cold and hindered my walking. What do you think I 
did as soon as I was alone i Oh ! it was very simple. First 
of all I looked to see what was to be seen through the trees : 
only a cold and grey sky. Next I looked round me, and saw 
hign trees already touched with the autumn tints. Then, 
noticing my father's cloak on the ground, I stretched myself 
on it, and began to think . . . just at this moment I felt 
something warm close to me ... I turned round . . . 
Heavens ! . . . three animals ! dear caressing creatures — the 
great black dog and two black puppies, Jonk I. and Jonk II. 

At last I heard a gun-shot — the signal — and immediately 
afterwards, in the distance, the shouts of our peasants. I got 
wider awake the nearer they came ; and when they came near 
enough to make one feel as one always does when a number 
of people are yelling all together even in laughter, I stood up, 
sprang to my gun, and pricked up my ears. The shouts 
came nearer, and I already heard them beating the bushes 
with their pikes to increase the racket 

At every moment I seemed to hear crackling in the brush- 
wood, for wolves prefer thick coverts. 

The shouts still increased, and when the first of the men 
came in sight, my heart was beating in jerks, and I even 
think I trembled tor a moment However, the men were not 
driving anything in front of them ; the nets had been empty. 
After inspecting them they found nothing in them but a poor 
hare, which the giant Kamenski killed with a kick — abomin- 
able brute ! 

They congratulated each other on the general luck, and 
walked in good spirits to the plain, where, under a hay or 
straw stack, they sat down to eat pickled things and to drink 
brandy. The peasants were regaled with roast mutton, pies 
and brandy. That may sound grand, but it's quite customary 
in Russia. 

Those good animals — I mean, men — looked curiously 
at the creature half woman and half man — or, rather 
the woman with a gun — who smiled openly at them. My 
father talked to them about the law concerning horses ; I 
thought he was haranguing them on behalf of Servia. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 219 

When we had rested we went back to the dark wood ; 
but as they were hunting hares instead of wolves, we 
had to 20 walking on ana on, following the twenty-nine 
dogs with the hunter whom Prince Kotchoubey haa sent 
yesterday. 

The sun came out, and I should have been in good spirits 
if fatigue had not taken the place of dampness. After walk- 
ing for two hours we did not see a single hare's tail. I got 
impatient, and finding our carriage I came home with my 
father al paterno tetto. I had myself rubbed down with 
scent, dressed, and came down-stairs to rejoin the others, 
who had brought home three hares. 

I was looking adorable (always relatively speaking, in so 
far as I can be lovely) ; but it was quite thrown away — not 
one of those monsters resembled a man. 

With peasants I am frank and familiar- with my 
equals in education I can be pleasant enougn, I think ; 
but with boors like these ! To avoid having to talk to 
them, I played at cards, and lost a hundred francs to the 
giant. 

Then they played again, and I went into the library to 
write a letter to a horse-dealer at Petersburg. As usual, the 

Erince followed me ; and after having begged me to give 
im my hand to kiss, which I did, even without much 
reluctance, the youth looked at me, sighed, and asked how 
old I was. 

" Sixteen." 

"Very well, when you are five-and-twenty I shall court 
you." 

" Ah, very well." 

" And then you will repulse me as you do now." 

This brilliant day ended with a concert on the stairs. 
My voice — the half of it, that is — transported them ; but I 
believe that they didn't understand it a bit, and admired 
haphazard. 

Monday, September 23rd. — My father fetched me into the 
gallery to see tne bridal of some peasants who had come to 
pay their respects. They were married yesterday. The man 
wore the usual dress — bfack boots up to the knees, loose dark 
trousers, and a mvita, or kind of coat, gathered at the waist, 
of undyed maroon cloth woven by the women of the district, 
the shirt embroidered, with the plastron exposed, and a 
coloured tie instead of the buttonhole. 

The woman had on a skirt and a bodice like the man's 



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220 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

in cut, but of a softer colour. And instead of having her 
hair dressed with flowers and ribbons like the girls, her 
head w&s swathed in a silk handkerchief, hiding her hair 
and even her forehead, but leaving the ears and neck 
exposed. 

They went into the dining-room, followed by the grooms- 
men, the bridesmaids, and those who had arranged the 
marriage. 

The husband and wife bent the knee thrice before my 
father. 

Wwlnesday, September 27tL — When I talk to my 
father, I adopt a laughing tone, so that I can say what 
I like. He was hurt by my last remark the day before 
yesterday. 

He complains ; he says he has led a foolish life, that he 
has pleased himself, but that he feels something lacking, 
that ne is not happy .... 

I laughed at his sigh, and said, " With whom are you in 
love now ? 

" Do you want to know ? " 

And here he blushed so red that he threw his arms round 
his head to hide his face 

" Yes, I do. Who is it ? " 

" With mamma." 

And as his voice shook, I was so touched that I burst 
out laughing to hide it 

" I knew you would not understand me ! " he ex- 
claimed. 

" Forgive me, but really this romantic matrimonial passion 
is so unlike you . . . ." 

" Because you do not know me ! But I swear, I swear 
it is true — before this picture of my grandmother, before 
this cross, my father's blessing ;" and he crossed him- 
self before the picture and the cross which hung above 
the bed. 

" Perhaps it is," he went on, " because I always imagine 
her to myself young, as she was then — because I see with the 
imagination of the past. When they separated us, I was like 
a madman ; I went on a pilgrimage on foot to pray to the 
Virgin of Ahtirna. But they say that this Virgin brings you 
ill-luck ; and it is quite true, for the breach got worse after 
that. And then — shall I say it ? . . . you will laugh . . . 
when you were living at Kharkoft', I went there alone by 
stealth. I took a cab, and I watched your lodgings ; I stopped 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 221 

there a whole day to see her pass, and then I came back 
without having been seen." 

" If that were true, it would be very touching," said I. 

"Tell me . . . since we are talking about mamma . . . 
Is it that . . . has she any aversion for me / " 

" Aversion ? No ; why should she ? Not at all." 

"You know . . . sometimes . . . people have ... in- 
superable antipathies to each other." 

" No, no indeed ! " 

After which we had a long talk about it. 

I spoke of her as the saint she always is, ever since the 
time wnen I remember to have understood. 

It was late; I was going to sleep. Had I been in 
my own room, I should nave had my supper, written, and 
read. 

This morning at eight o'clock we were going to start for 

Poltava, when in came Mme. H£l&ne K , Pacha's mother, 

an amiable hunchback, somewhat affected. 

We had tea together, and then we started. My father has 
been summoned to Poltava to take the chair. 

It is cold, and rains occasionally. I went for a walk, and 
then adjourned to the photographer's. I posed as a peasant 
girl — standing, sitting, and lying asleep. 

We met G 

" Have you seen mv daughter ? " asked my father. 

" Yes, Monsieur, I nave seen the " 

" A better one was never created, was there ? There is 
none better, and there never has been." 

"Pardon me, Monsieur, but there was a time when 
Olympus existed." 

" Ah ! Monsieur G you are a payer of compliments, I 

see." 

The gentleman is rather ugly, rather dark, rather agree- 
able, fit for good society, somewhat of an adventurer, some- 
what of a gambler — a respectable man on the whole. At 
Poltava he passes for very well informed and very gentlemanly. 

The first touch of cola has forced me to put on my winter 
furs. Put away as they had been, they kept the scent which 
they had at Rome ; this scent, these furs . . . 

Have you ever noticed that you only need a perfume, a 
sound, a colour, to transport you in fancy to any place what- 
ever { ... To pass the winter at Paris ? Oh no ! . . . . 

Thursday, September 28th. — I am bored till I cry ; I want 

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222 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

to go away ; I am unhappy here. I am losing my time, my 
life ; I am wretched, I am getting mouldy, I suffer, I am set 
on edge. Ah, that's the phrase ! 

This life gives me the horrors. Lord Jesus, save me 
from this ! 

Friday, September 2Sth — I was in despair yesterday ; 
I seemed to be chained to Russia for ever; it worked 
me up till I was ready to climb over the wall ; and I cried 
bitterly. 

Pacha's mother worries me. Why ? Because she has 
made several remarks which show me that her son has been 
talking to her of me in very high terms. And when at last I 
insisted on her making him come, she said, half in joke and 
half seriously — 

" No, no, he must stay where he is. You are bored here ; 
and as you have nothing to do, you tease him ; he came back 
to me quite crushed ana bewildered." 

To which I replied with much candour — 

" I don't think Pacha is the man to take offence at a few 
friendly jokes. If I joke and tease him a little, it is because 
he is my near relative — almost my brother." 

She looked at me for some time, and then said — 

" Do you know what is the height of folly ? " 

"No.* 

" Falling in love with Moussia." 

Instinctively connecting this remark with sundry others, I 
blushed up to my ears. 

Sunday, October lsf. — Yesterday we went to see Prince 
Sergius Kotchoubey. 

My father made himself smart — so smart that his gloves 
were just a little too tight 

I was in white, as at the Naples races ; only I had a hat 
made entirely of black feathers, of the fashionable classic 
shape in Russia, which I don't like, but which is fitting to the 
occasion. 

The prince's country place is eight kilometres from 
Gavronzi, the famous Dikanka whose praises have been sung 
by Pouschkine at the same time as the loves of Mazeppa and 
Marie Kotchoubey. The property has been much improved 
by Prince Victor Pavlovitch Kotchoubey, the Chancellor of 
the Empire and a remarkable statesman, the father of the 
present prince. 

In point of garden, park, and buildings, Dikanka might 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 223 

rival the Borghese and Doria villas at Rome. Apart from the 
inimitable ruins of antiquity at Rome, which you can't get 
elsewhere, Dikanka is perhaps even richer; almost a little 
town in itself, simply the house and its offices, to say 
nothing of the peasants' cabins. I was astounded to find a 
dwelling like this in the midst of Little Russia. What a 
pity! Its very existence is unknown. There are courts, 
stables, workshops, machinery, factories. Building, manu- 
facturing, and improving, are the prince's hobby. But as 
soon as the door is opened, all likeness to Italy disappears. 
The ante-room is mean compared to the rest It gives you 
merely the idea of a nobleman's house ; but as to the 
splenaour, the stateliness, and the divine art which entrance 
you in Italian palaces — nothing at alL The prince is a man 
of fifty or fifty-five ; a widower for, I think, the last two 
years — a type of the Russian lord, one of the ancient regime 
whom we are beginning to regard as animals belonging to a 
different species from ourselves 

His mien and his conversation put me out a little at first, 
stupefied as I am at present, but after five minutes I was 
quite happy. 

He gave me his arm, and took me to see his chief pic- 
tures, and through the large rooms. The dining-room is mag- 
nificent. I was given the place of honour on the right, and 
on my left were the prince and my father. Beyond him 
again were several people who were not introduced, and who 
came in and humbly took their seats — the feudal dependants 
of the Middle Ages. 

Everything went on capitally, when I felt suddenly 
unwell and got giddy ; I rose, and indeed the meal was just 
over. 

We went into the Moorish drawing-room, where after 
having sat down I nearly fainted. They showed me pictures, 
statuettes, the portrait and blood-stained shirt of Prince Basil. 
(The shirt is hanging in a cupboard, with the portrait for a 
door.) I was taken to see the horses, but I could not look at 
anything, and we had to leave. 

Saturday, October 14f/i. — I have got some dresses from 
Paris. I dressed, and went out with Paul. 

Poltava is a more interesting town than one would think. 
In the first place, as regards sights, there is the little church 
of Peter the Great. It is wooden, with a brick casing to 
preserve it ; between this sheath and the walls of the church 
a man can easily pass. 

Q 



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224 MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

Just by the side of the church is the column put up on 
the spot where the Emperor condescended to sit down on a 
stone and rest, after gaming the battle of June, 1709. The 
column is of bronze. 

I went into the old wooden church, knelt down, and 
touched the floor with my forehead three times. They say 
that if you do this in a church where you are for the first 
time your prayer will be eranted. 

Continuing my search for the sights, I went to see the 
great convent of Poltava. 

It* is on the top of the second hilL Poltava is built on 
two hills. 

There is nothing in particular there except the wonderfiilly- 
carved wooden screen before the choir. 

My ancestor, grandpapa Babanine's father, is buried there. 
I paid my reverence to his tomb. 

Tuesday, October 17th. — We were playing croquet 

" Pacha, what would you do to the person wno has hurt 
me — cruelly hurt me ? " 

" I would kill him," said Pacha, simply. 

" You have fine words on your tongue ; but you are joking, 
Pacha." 

" Are you ? " 

They call me the devil, the tempest, the evil spirit, the 
hurricane ; I have been all that since yesterday. 

I only quieted down a little so as to deliver the most 
contradictory opinions concerning love. 

My cousin's notions are of ideal grandeur; Dante might 
have borrowed from him his divine love for Beatrice. 

" Of course I shall fall in love," he said ; " but I shall not 
marry." 

" Look here, Green Man, people who say such things get 
thrashed." 

" Because," he added, " I should like my love to endure for 
ever — at any rate, in imagination ; retaining its divine purity 
and vehemence. . . . Marriage extinguishes love, just because 
it sets it going." 

" Oh, oh ! * said I. 

" Quite right," said his mother ; while the fierce orator got 
red and collapsed, overcome by his own words. 

And in the middle of all that I was looking at myself in 
the glass, and cutting my hair, which had grown too long on 
my forehead. 

" Here," I said to the Green Man, throwing him a little 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 225 

tuft of golden-brown threads, "you can have this for a 
keepsake." 

He not only took the hair, but his look and his voice 
faltered ; and as I wanted to take it again, he looked at me 
very queerly, like a child who has got hold of a toy and thinks 
it a treasure. 

I gave my cousin Corinne to read, and he departed. 

Corinne and Lord Melvil are crossing the bridge ot 
Sant* Angelo. ... "It was when I was coming over this 
bridge," said Lord Melvil, " returning from the Capitol, that 
I thought long about you for the first time." Really, I don't 
know what there is in this sentence .... but yesterday even- 
ing it made me literally faint .... and it always does when- 
ever I open the book. 

Has not somebody said something of the kind to me ? 

The words are quite simple; but there is some magic 
about them. Is it their simplicity, or some association ? 

Friday, October 20th. — At eight o'clock in the morning, 
with the sky clouded and the black ground lightly powdered 

with snow, like Mme. B 's face, we were already out 

coursing. Michel brought over his pack of harriers. As 
soon as I got into the fields I mounted, without taking off 
my pelisse, which I fastened round my waist with a strap. 
Three dogs in a leash were assigned me. 

The frost, the snow, the horses, and the fine heads of the 
dogs, filled me with joy ; I was in ecstasy. 

Pacha, on horseback by my side, was very agreeable, which 
doesn't become him at all, and puts me out. . . . Yet no ; 
his fluctuations of temper are not to be despised. 

" Pacha, there is some one who is dreadfully in my way 

(don't be alarmed ; it isn't my aunt T ), and I should like 

to politely annihilate that person." 

" Very well ; command me." 

"Really?" 

"Try." 

" On your honour ? And you won't tell any one ? " 

" On my honour, not to anybody." 

Owing to these few words, there is a sort of bond at 
present between the Green Man and me. 

We had to talk in a low voice, in English, when his 
mother was not there. 

Pacha wanted to go on being agreeable; so I gave him 
both my hands to kiss, and a poem of Victor Hugo to read, 
and I treat him like the brother he is. 



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226 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Monday, October 23rd. — Yesterday we squeezed ourselves 
into a six-horsed vehicle, and started for Poltava. 

We had a pleasant journey. 

My tears, as I was leaving the paternal roof, caused general 
effusiveness; and Pacha exclaimed that he was madly in 
love. 

" I swear it is true ! " he cried ; " but I am not going to say 
with whom." 

" If you are not in love with me," I cried, " I curse 
you ! " 

My feet were cold, so he took off his pelisse and covered 
them up with it 

" Pacha, swear to tell me the truth.' 

" Very well" 

" With whom are you in love ? " 

"Why?" 

" I am interested. We are relatives ; I am curious to 
know .... and, besides, it amuses me." 

" It amuses you ; that's it" 

" Of course \ but don't take the word in a bad sense. I 
am interested in you because you are a good fellow." 

" You know very well that you are joking, and that you 
will laugh at me afterwards." 

" I give you my hand and my word that I am not joking." 
But my face was laughing. "With whom are you in 
love ? " 

" You." 

" Really and truly V 

" On my word. I never talk like the people in novels. Is 
it necessary to fall on your knees, and utter a heap of tom- 
foolery ? " 

"Oh, my dear fellow, you are parodying some one, I 
know. 1 

" As you like, Moussia ; but I am speaking the truth." 

" But what nonsenso it is ! " 

" Of course ; that is just what I like about it It is a 
hopeless love — what I wanted. I wanted to suffer, to worry 
myself; and then, when the person in question has gone 
away, I shall have something to think about, something 
to regret. I shall be a martyr, and then I shall be 
happy." 

" Oh, green man ! " 

" Green man ? Green man ? " 

" We are brother and sister." 

" No ; cousins." 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 227 

" Well, it's all the same." 

" Oh no, it isn't." 

Then I began to tease my lover. (Always the lover that I 
don't want ft I sent Pacha back to Gavronzi, and started with 

Paul At the station we saw Count M , who showed me 

several small attentions there, and in the carriage. 

They woke me up at the third station, and I passed, 
half asleep, in front of the count, to hear him say to 
me — 

" I kept awake on purpose to see you pass." 

I was met at Tcherniakovka, and I immediately went to 
bed, thoroughly done up. 

Etienne and Alexander, and their wives and children, 
came, and found me in bed. I want to go back to my own 
people. I feel better already, now that f am here. When I 
get there, I shall be all right 

I have seen my nurse Martha. 

Thursday, October 24£A. — I did not have any childhood, 
but the house in which I lived when I was quite little is 
sympathetic, if not dear to me. I know everybody and 
everything there. The servants — going down from father to 
son, who have grown grey in our service — were astonished to 
find me so grown up ; and I should delight in some pleasur- 
able reminiscences, if my mind were not poisoned by other 
preoccupationa 

They called me Mouche, Mouka; and as I could not 
aspirate the Russian " h ! " I said Moucha, like the French, 
meaning, " martyrdom." A lugubrious coincidence ! 
- I dreamed of A for the first time since Nice. 

Dominica and her daughter. arrived in the evening of the 
same day, in answer to a note I sent them. We stopped a 
long while in the dining-room, which opens into the drawing- 
room by an undraped archway. 

My Agrippina dress was a great success. I walked up and 
down as I sang, so as to get over the fear which always comes 
upon me when I sing. 

Why should I write ? What have I to tell ? I must bore 
my readers to death .... Patience ! 

Sixtus V. was nothing but a swineherd, and Sixtus V. 
became Pope ! To go back. 

Lola seemed to bring a breath of Roman air with her . . . 
I imagined that we were coming back from the opera or the 
Pincio. 

Grandpapa's enormous library gives you a vast choice of 



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228 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

curious and rare books. I have selected some to read with 
Lola. 

Thursday, October 26th. — Blessings on the railway ! We 
are at Kharkoff, with the famous hotel-keeper Andrieux. 
We started on horses thirty years old — grandpapa's horses. 
And our departure was as good as a firework display, in its 
simple pleasant gaiety. We breathe differently when we 
are with people who only have kindly feelings towards 
you. 

My anger is gone, and I am dreaming of Pietro again. 
At the theatre I was not listening to the play, I was dream- 
ing. But then I am at the age which dreams about 
anything whatever, so long as it can only dream about 
something. 

Ought I to go to Rome, or work at Paris ? Russia, under 
the present circumstances, is intolerable. My father sum- 
mons me by telegraph. 

Saturday, October 27th. — When I got back to our old nest 
from Tcherniakow, I found a letter from papa. And all the 
evening Alexander and his wife did nothing but advise me to 
take him with me to Rome. 

" You can do it," said Nadine ; " do it ; it will be a real 
piece of good fortune." 

I replied in monosyllables, for I made a sort of promise to 
myself not to speak about that to anybody. 

When I got in, I took down one by one all the images of 
saints covered with gold or silver; I shall put them in my 
oratory over there. 

Sunday, October 29th (October 17th). — I have taken down 
Jie pictures, as I did the saints' images. There is a Veronese, 
30 called, and a Dolci ; but I shall hnd out what they are at 
Nice. When I was once set going, I wished to take every- 
thing. Uncle Alexander seemed displeased ; but that was 
all the difficulty. When once I had started, I was all 
right. 

Nadine has the neighbouring schools under her charge. 
She has with admirable energy undertaken the work of 
civilising our peasants. 

I went out with Nadine this morning to see her school, 
and then I tired myself out in sorting out my old clothes, 
and giving them away right and left. A crowd of women 
turned up, each one of whom had been our servant, or had 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 229 

something to do with the house ; I was obliged to give them 
something. 

I dont suppose I shall ever see Tcherniakow again. I 
spent a long time in wandering from one room to another, 
which gave me a great deal of pleasure. People laugh at 
those who find sweet memories in furniture and pictures 
wKich greet you and bid you farewell — who seem to 
see friends in these pieces of stuff and wood which, by 
dint of serving us and being constantly under our eyes, 
take a share of our life, and become a part of our very 
being. 

Laugh away! The most subtle feelings are the most 
easily turned into ridicule. And where ridicule reigns, the 
finest delicacy of feeling disappears. 

Wednesday, November 1st. — As soon as Paul went out, I 
found myself alone with that good and praiseworthy being 
whose name is Pacha. 

" Well, do you like me still ? " 

" Ah ! Moussia, how can a man tell you so 1 " 

" Why, straightforwardly. Why tnis reticence ? Why 
can't you be simple and frank ? I won't laugh at you. If I 
do laugh, it is simply from nervousness — and nothing else. 
Then you don't like me any more ? " 

"Why?" 

" Ah ! because . . . because ... I don't remember." 

" It is impossible to talk of these things." 

" If I don t please you, you may as well say so ; you are 
quite frank enough for that, and I am indifferent enough . . . 
Come, is it my nose ? my eyes ? 

" Any one can see that you have never loved." 

"Why?" 

"Because directly you analyse features, either the nose 
surpasses the eyes, or the eyes the mouth. . . . All that 
means that you do not love." 

" Quite true. Who told you so ? " 

" No one." 

" Ulysses ? " 

" No," he answered. " I don't know what I like best . . . 
I will tell you frankly ... it is your air, your manner — above 
all, your character." 

" It is a good one ? " 

"Yes, unless you are acting, which one can't be always 
doing/' 

"True again . . . and my face ? " 



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230 MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

" It has beauties ... of the sort called classical" 

" Yes, I know. And then ? " 

"Then? There are some women we see pass by whom 
we think pretty, and then think no more about them. . . But 
there are other faces which ... are pretty and charming . . . 
which leave a vivid impression behind, an agreeable feeling . . . 
a fascinating one." 

" Quite so . . . and then ? " 

" What an inquisitor you are ! " 

" I am improving the occasion by learning a little about 
what people think of me. I shall not meet another in a 
hurry whom I can question like this without compromising 
myself. Now, how did this feeling come upon you — sud- 
denly or gradually ? " 

" Gradually." 

"H'm!" 

" It is all the better. It is more solid. What you love in 
a day you leave off loving in a day ; while " 

" Rhyme it ... * the other endures alway.' 

" Yes, alway." 

Our conversation lasted a good deal longer, and my feel- 
ings of respect went up for this man whose love has the 
reverence of a religion, and who has never sullied it with a 
single profane word or look 

"Do you like to talk about love?" I asked all of a 
sudden. 

" No ; it is profanation to talk of it lightly." 

" But it's amusing." 

" Amusing ! " he cried out. 

" Ah ! Pacha, life is a great misery Have I ever 

been in love ? " 

" Never," he replied. 

" Why do you think so ? " 

" Because of your character ; you can only love capriciously. 
.... To-day a man, to-morrow a dress, the next day a 
cat" 

" I am delighted to have people think so. And you, my 
dear brother, have you ever been in love ? " 

" I told you I have. Yes, I told you so. You know it." 

" No, no ; I don't mean that," I replied, quickly, " but ever 
before ? " 

"No." 

" That is strange. Now and then I think I am wrong, and 
have taken you for more than you are." 

We then talked of indifferent matters, and I went up to 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 231 

my room. There is a — no, we won't call him an excellent man, 
the disenchantment would be too unpleasant He declared to 
me a little while ago that he should go into the army — " To 
win glory, I tell you, frankly." 

Well, this remark coming straight from the heart, half 
timid, half bold, and true as truth, gave me great pleasure. 
Perhaps I am flattering myself, but it seems to me that 
ambition was unknown to nim. I can recall what a strange 
effect my first talk of ambition produced on him, and one 
day, when I was talking of this while painting, the Green 
Man suddenly got up and began to pace the room, mutter- 
ing— 

" Oh ! one must do something — one must do something ! " 

Thursday, November 2nd. — My father cavils at me 
about everything. Over and over again I feel inclined to 
send everything to the devil ; but I restrain myself a hundred 
times, which hurts me unspeakably. 

It took me a world of trouble to get him to Poltava this 
evening. There was a gathering of the nobility, at which a 
quartet-player was giving a concert. I wanted to go, in order 
to show myself, and nad no end of obstacles to overcome. As if 
it weren't enough not to have procured me the least pleasure, to 
have sent away those who might have been my companions 
on equal terms, to have turned a deaf ear to all my hints, 
and even my open request, about a wretched amateur 
play ! As if that weren t enough ! And here after three 
months of coaxing, of pretty caresses, of clever talk, of 
amiability, I get a determined opposition to my going to 
this miserable concert. That wasn't all, for I gamed my 
point; but then I got a lecture on the choice of my dress. 
He thought fit to impose a woollen dress on me — a walking- 
dress! How petty all that is, how unworthy of intelligent 
beings! 

Idid not absolutely need my father — I had Nadine and 
Alexander, Paul and racha — but I took him with me by a 
whim, and to my great discomfort. 

My father thought I looked too smart, so I had another 
lecture; he was afraid I should look too different from the 
Poltava ladies, and now he begged me to put on something 
else — he who had besought me to dress like this at Kharkoff! 
The result was a pair of mittens torn to pieces, eyes flashing 
fury, a diabolical temper, and — no change in my get-up. 
We came in when the concert was half over — I on my 
father's arm, and my head in the air like a woman who 



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232 MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

knows she will be admired . . . Nadine, Paul, and Pacha 
followed. I walked past Mine. Abaza without taking any 
heed of her, and we took our seats in the first row by her 
side. 

I had been to call on Mile. Dietrich, who, now that she 
was Mme. Abaza, did not return my call I bore myself with a 
haughty insolence, and took no notice of her, notwithstanding 
all her looks. We were soon surrounded by everybody. All 
the noodles of the club, which is under the same roof, came 
into the room " to look on." 

The concert was soon over, and we departed with our 
home escort. 

"Did you bow to Mme. Abaza?" my father kept 
asking. 

"No." 

And thereupon I gave him a piece of my mind, and ad- 
vised him to be less contemptuous towards other people, and 
to look at home first 

I cut him to the quick, so that he went back to the club, 
and came to tell me that the Abaza was appealing to all the 
hotel servants, declaring that she had called on me the very 
day before with her niece. 

Otherwise, my father was radiant; he had been loaded 
with compliments on my account 

Saturday, November \th (October 23rd). — I ought to have 
foreseen that my father would seize on all chances, great or 
small, of revenging himself on his wife. I did, indeed, tell 
myself so vaguely, but I trusted in God's goodness. Mamma 
is not to blame ; no one can live with such a man. His true 
nature revealed itself suddenly. Now I know. 

It has been snowing all day ; the ground is white, and the 
trees covered with hoar-frost, producing towards evening tints 
of the most exauisite softness. I should like to plunge right 
into that greyisn mist over the forest, it looks like a different 
world. 

But the even balance of the carriage, the sweet scent of 
the first fall of snow, the mists of the evening — all those 
calming influences failed to allay my starts of indignation at 

the recollection of A , a recollection which dogs my steps 

like a wild beast, and which will not give me a moment's 
peace. 

When we got home, we were scarcely in the drawing- 
room when my father began to nag at me, and then, seeing 
that I did not reply, he cned out — 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 233 

" Your mother says that I am to finish my days in the 
country with her ! Never ! " 

To reply would have meant quitting the place that 
moment. This final sacrifice, I thought, and then at least I 
shall have done all ; I shall have nothing to reproach myself 
with. I remained seated, and said not a word; but I shall 
long remember that moment, when my blood seemed to cease 
to flow, and my heart to stop beating, only to palpitate after- 
wards like a bird in agony. 

I sat down at the table with a deliberate air, still holding 
my peace. My father saw his mistake, and began to find 
fault with everything, and to scold the servants, so as to have 
an after-excuse for his irritation. 

All at once he sat down on the edge of my arm-chair, and 
put his arms round me. I immediately freed myself 

" Oh no ! " I said, in a firm tone — without the slightest 
tearfulness this time — " I won't stop near you." 

"Yes, do!" 

And he tried to turn it into a joke. 

" But it is I who ought to be angry," he added. 

"Therefore I am not. ... " 

Tuesday \ November 7 th. — I have broken my looking-glass ! 
Death or a great misfortune ! This superstition freezes me ; 
and when I look out of window, everything is more freezing 
stilL Everything is white under a pearl-grey sky. I have 
not seen such a picture for a long while. 

Paul, with natural youthful eagerness* to show off a new 
thing to a new-comer, had a little sledge harnessed, and 
triumphantly took me for a drive. This sledge has no 
business whatever to call itself so ; it consists of a few miser- 
able pieces of wood nailed together, filled with hay, and 
covered over with a piece of carpet. The horse, being very- 
near, kicked up the snow into our faces and down our 
sleeves, into my slippers, and into my eyes. The icy dust 
covered the three rows of lace on my head, and, drifting into 
the folds, froze there. 

" You told me to come abroad the same time as you," the 
Green Man suddenly observed. 

" Yes ; not from a whim. You would do me a kindness 
by coming, and yet you won't ! You never do anything for 
me. Who will you do it for, then ? " 

" Oh, you know very well why I can't come ! " 

"No, I don't" 

" Yes, you do ; you know that if I were to go with you I 



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234 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

should be seeing you the whole time, and that it pains me 
awfully." 

"Why?" 

" Because ... I love you." 

" But you would bo so useful to me if you came." 

" I be useful to you ? " 

" Yes." 

" No ; I can't come ... I will look at you from afar. 
And if you only knew," he went on in a low and heart- 
rending tone, "if you only knew how I suffer some- 
times! ..." 

" You will forget me." 

" Never ! " 

" What then ? " 

There was no longer any trace of raillery in my tone ; I 
was touched. 

" I don't know," said he ; " but I find this state of things 
intolerable." 

"Poor thing! 

I checked myself immediately ; this tone of pity is insulting. 

Why is it so delightful to hear avowals ot the sufferings 
we cause ? The more a man suffers for love of you, the 
happier you are. 

" Come with us ; my father will not take Paul away with 

him. Come ! " 
« T » 

" You cannot — we know that I will not ask you again. 
That's enough." 

I assumed the air of an inquisitor, or of a person who is 
preparing to enjoy a bit of mischief. 

"Then I have the honour of being your first love? 
Capital ! You are telling lies." 

" Because my voice does not change, and I do not weep ! 
I have an iron will ; that's all" 

" And I, who wished to give you . . . something." 

"What?" 

"This!" 

And I showed him a little image of the Virgin, hanging 
by a white ribbon round my neck. 

" Give it to me." 

" You don't deserve it." 

" Ah, Moussia ! " said he, with a sigh, " I assure you that I 
deserve it. I feel the attachment of a dog for you — a bound- 
less devotion . . ." 

" Qome, young man, and I will give you my blessing," 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 235 

"Your blessing?" 

"My true benediction. My object in making you talk 
thus is to get some idea of the feelings of those who 
love ; for, supposing I should some day set about falling in 
love . . . well, it will be very needful for me to know the 
symptoms." 

" Give me that image," said the green young man, who 
did not take his eyes oft it He knelt on the chair, over 
the back of which I was leaning, and wanted to take the 
image, but I stopped him. 

" No, no ; round your neck. 

And I slipped it round his neck, still quite warm, as it 
came from me. 

" Oh ! " he sighed, " thank you again and again for that ! " 

And he kissed my hand of his own accord, for the first 
time. 

Wednesday, November Sth. — There is a fall of snow on the 
ground, but the weather is bright and fine. We went out 
again ; this time in a larger sledge — which was quite as badly 
appointed — for the snow was not yet firm enough to bear 
heavy iron sledgea Paul drove, and, taking advantage of the 
occasions when Pacha was most uncomfortably seated, he 
sent the horses at full speed and smothered us with snow, 
making the Green Man shout, and your humble servant 
laugh. He drove us through such bad roads, and into so 
many snowdrifts, that we could do nothing but laugh and 

Elead for mercy. Sledging, however serious your party may 
e, is always like a child's gama 

Paul was on my right, and Pacha on my left; I made 
him pass his arm "behind me, so that this arm, his body, 
and Paul's, made me a sort of arm-chair, which was very 
comfortable. 

The cold terrified me less. I wore only my pelisse and a 
sealskin hat ; so that I was freer to move and speak. 

In the evening I sat down to the piano, and played the 
reading of the letter of Venus, a charming piece from the 
Belle Hdeve. 

What a delightful composition the Belle Hdene is ! 
Offenbach had begun his career, and had not yet grown 
vulgar by composing penny operettas. 

I played for a very long tune ... I don't now remember 
what ; something slow and passionate, tender and adorable, as 
only Mendelssonn's songs without words, when thoroughly 
appreciated, can be. 



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236 MAEIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

I took four cups of tea while talking of music. 

" It has a great influence upon me," said the Green Man. 
"I feel altogether strange; it affects me . . . sentimentally 
. . . And while hearing it, one says what one would never 
dare to say under other circuinstancea" 

" Music is a traitress, Pacha ; distrust it, for it may make 
you do many things you would not do in calm moments. It 
seizes you, aosorbs you, draws you on . . . and the result is 
terrible." 

I talked of Rome and of Alexis the somnambulist. Pacha 
listened and sighed in his corner; and when he came 
near the light, the expression of his face told me better 
than all the words in the world what the poor fellow 
suffered. 

(Do you notice this fierce vanity ; this eagerness to set 
down the ravages one causes. I am a vulgar coquette — or, 
rather ... no ; a woman, that's all) 

" We are melancholy this evening," I said, gently. 

"Yes," he replied, with an effort; "you have played, 
and ... I don't know ; I have a fever, I think." 

" Go and sleep, my friend ; I am going up-stairs ; but just 
help me to carry my books." 

Thursday, November 9th. — My stay here will, at all events, 
have enabled me to become acquainted with the magnificent 
literature of my native land. But of what do our poets and 
writers speak ? ... Of other lands than ours. Let us take 
Gogol first, our great humourist ; his description of Rome has 
made me weep and groan, and it is impossible to form any 
idea of it without reading it 

To-morrow it will be translated, and those who have 
had the good fortune to see Rome will understand my 
emotion. 

Oh ! when shall I get away from this country — so grey, 
so cold, so harsh, even in summer, even in the bright sun- 
light! The foliage is pinched, and the sky is not so blue 
as . . . yonder. 

Friday, November 10th. — I have been reading up to 
this moment. ... I am disgusted with my Journal, and 
feel anxious, discouraged. . . . Rome is all that I can 

sa y- 

I have remained for five minutes holding my pen, without 
writing, for I don't know what to say; my heart is so full. 
The time is drawing near when I shall see A again, and 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 237 

a feeling of dread comes over me. Still, I believe that I do not 
love him — and may even say that I feel sure of it. But this 
recollection, this annoyance, this imeasiness as to the future, 

this dread of an affront .... A ! How this word is 

constantly coming to the tip of my pen! and how I 
hate it ! 

You think I wish to die. What fools you all are ! 
I adore life just as it is, and bless the vexations, heart- 
rendings, and tears, which God sends, and feel quite 
happy. 

In fact . . . the idea of being unhappy has become so 
familiar, that communing with myself, alone in my own room, 
far from the world, and from all human beings, I say to 
inyseli that I am perhaps, after all, not so much to be 
pitied. . . . Why do I weep, then ? 

Saturday, November 11th. — This morning, at eight 
o'clock, I left Oavronzi ; but not without a slight feeling of 
regret. . . No ; 1 should rather say, of unwillingness to 
leave. 

All the servants came into the courtyard, where I gave 
money to each, and a gold bracelet to the housekeeper. The 
snow was melting; but quite enough remained to splash 
throughout the journey. And though I was most desirous of 
keeping my face uncovered, in order to make philosophical 
observations, like M. Prudhomme, I was compelled, by a 
pitiless wind, to muffle myself up entirely. 

I went straight to uncle Alexander's, whose name I 
found on the doorplate, and he told me the following 
anecdote : — 

" A civilian and an officer, who were travelling, entered the 
same carriage, and a desultory conversation arose respecting 
the new law about horses. 

" ' Are you, Monsieur, the person who has been sent into 
our district ? ' asks the civilian. 

" * Yes, Monsieur/ 

" ' Then you have doubtless taken note of Marshal 
Bashkirtseff's lijjht bay horses ? ' 

" ' Yes, Monsieur, I have.' 

" And the officer proceeded to state their good and bad 
points. 

" ' Do you know Mile. Bashkirtseff? ' 

" ' No, Monsieur ; I have not the honour — I have seen her ; 
but I know M. Bashkirtseff. Mile. Bashkirtseff is a delight- 
ful person; she is a perfect beauty — but an independent, 



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238 MARIE BA&EKIRT8EFF. 

original, and naive beauty, t met her in a carriage near 
St. Petersburg, and I and my companions were quite struck 
with her/ 

" ' That is all the pleasanter to ine/ said the civilian, ' as I 
am her uncle/ 

" ' Indeed ! ' 

" ' My name, Monsieur, is Soumorokoft. May I ask yours ? 

"'Babanine/ 

"'Delighted.' 

"'Charmed/ &c. &c/ 

The count persisted in saying that my place was at St. 
Petersburg, and that to keep me at Poltava was detestable. 

Ah ! my father. 

" But, uncle," said I to Alexander, " you have, no doubt, 
invented all this." 

" If I have invented a single word, may I be struck dead, 
and never see my wife and children again." 

My father is in a fury, to which I pay no attention. 

Poltava, Wednesday, November !5tL — I started on 
Sunday night with my father, after having seen Prince 
Michel and the others during my last two days in 
Russia. 

Only my own family have come with me to the station, 
but many strangers are looking with curiosity at our 
baggage. 

The journey to Vienna alone costs me about five hundred 
roubles. I paid for everything myself The horses are going 
with us, under the care of Uhocoiat, and Kouzma my father's 
valet. 

I was going to take one of the other men ; but Kouzma, 
burning with the desire to travel, came and begged me in the 
Russian fashion to take him. 

Chocolat will keep watch ; for Kouzuia is a sort of 
lunatic who would be very likely to forget everything 
while star-gazing, and let his horses or even his coat be 
stolen. 

Having married a girl who had long loved him, he ran 
away after the ceremony into the garden, and remained 
there over two hours, crying and lamenting like a madman. 
I think he is a little crazy ; and his scared look seems to 
prove it 

My father was still in a rage. As for me, I walked up and 
down the station as though I nad been at home. Pacha kept 
at a distance, looking at me all the time. 



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RUSSIA, 1876. 239 

At the last moment it was discovered that a parcel was 
missing; a perfect storm of excitement arose, and there 
was a rush in all directions. Ainalia was justifying herself, 
and I was finding fault with her for not looking after the 
things. The lookers-on listened with amusement ; and seeing 
that, I became doubly eloquent in the language of Dante. I 
was enjoying the fun — particularly as the tram was waiting 
for us. The best of this pitiful country is that we do have 
our own way in it Alexander, Paul, and Pacha, got 
into the compartment; but the third bell was announcing 
the time for departure, and there was quite a crowd rouna 
me. 

"Paul, Paul," the Green Man was saying, "let me at 
least say good-bye to her." 

" Make room for him," I said. 

He kissed my hand, and I kissed him on the cheek, near 
the eye. This is the custom in Russia, but I had never con- 
formed to it We were waiting only for the whistle, which 
soon sounded. 

" Well ! " I exclaimed. 

" I shall still have time," said the Green Man. 

The train began to move slowly on, and Pacha com- 
menced to talk very fast, but without knowing what he was 
saying. 

" Good-bye — good-bye ; iump off, do ! " 

" Yes, adieu — good-bye ! ' 

And he jumped on to the platform, after having again 
kissed my hand. It was the kiss of a faithful and respectful 
dog. 

" Come ! come ! " my father was calling out from the com- 
partment, for we were m the passage of the carriage. 

I came to him ; but I was so grieved at the pain of which 
I was the cause that I immediately threw myself down and 
closed my eyes in order to think auietlv. 

Poor Pacha! Dear and noble fellow! If there is any 
thing I regret in Russia it is this heart of gold, this loyal 
disposition, this upright spirit Am I really grieved? 
Yes; for could I fail to feel just pride in havmg such a 
friend ? 

This Tuesday night I slept in a bed as comfortable as at 
the hotel. 

I am at Vienna. Physically speaking, my journey has 
been perfect; I have slept well, have had a good appetite, 
and I am clean. This last item, the most important, is only 

R 



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240 MARIE BA8RKIRT8EFF. 

possible in Russia where wood is used for fuel, and where 
the railway carriages have dressing-rooms attached. My 
father has been fairly good-tempered ; we played cards, and 
made fun of the other travellers. But this evening it was the 
old story again. 

He took a box at the opera, but refused to take me, except 
in my travelling-dress. 

" You take advantage of my position," I said to him ; " but 
you shall not have the satisfaction of playing the tyrant over 
me. I will not go. Good-night ! " 

And here I am, in my own room. What a position! 
Indeed, I am penniless ; for I have only got drafts on Paris 
which will be of no use to me until I get there. 

Being obliged to give up my horses, I left five hundred 
roubles to Kouzma, and had nothing left but the drafts. 
This I told my father, who was offendea, and, placing himself 
in his most noble attitude, shouted that he cared nothing for 
expense— that to spend money for me was nothing to nim, 
he had spent so much in his life. 

You feel yourself in Europe here; the sight of lofty 
and imposing houses raises my spirits almost as high as 
their top storey. The low-built habitations of Poltava 
crushed me. But I do regret the lights in the carriages 
yesterday. 

Saturday, November \&tlu — This morning, at five o'clock, 
we arrived in Paris. 

There was a telegram from mamma at the Grand HoteL 
We engaged rooms on the first floor. I took a bath, and then 
waited for mamma. I am, however, so despairing that no- 
thing any longer affects me. She arrived with Dina ; Dina — 
happy, calm, and carrying on her work of sister of mercy and 
guardian angeL 

You may imagine that I was never more confused. Papa 
and mamma! I did not know where to look. There were 
several jars, but nothing very serious. 

My mother, my fatner, myself, and Dina, went out to- 
gether to the theatre. I sat in the darkest corner of the box ; 
my eyes were so heavy with sleep that I could scarcely see. 

Tiiat night I slept with mamma ; and instead of endearing 
words after such a long absence, nothing but a torrent of 
complaints came from my lips — which, however, very soon 
came to an end, for I fell asleep. 

Monday, November 20th. — After dinner we went to see 

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PARIS, 1876. 241 

Paul and Virginia, V. Masses new opera, which is most 
highly spoken of. The Parisian boxes are instruments of 
torture. We were a party of four, in one of the first 
boxes, at one hundred and fifty francs, but we could not 
move. 

An interval of an hour or two between dinner and the 
play, a roomy and comfortable box, an elegant and suitable 
dress — these are the conditions necessary for the appreciation 
and worship of music. I was in quite the contrary position, 
which did not, however, prevent me from listening with all 
my attention to Engally, the Russian actress; nor from 
keeping my eyes fixed on Capoul, the darling of the fair 
sex. The fortunate artist, certain of admiration, acted as 
though he were in a fencing school, uttering the most 
piercmg notes. . . . 

It is already two o'clock in the morning. Mamma, who 
sacrifices everything for me, and thinks only of my well-being, 
has long ago spoken to my father. But my father replies 
only by jests, or by words so indifferent as to be quite 
revolting. 

He says at last that he quite understands the step I am 
taking, that even mamma's enemies will only think it quite 
natural, and that his daughter, having attained the age of 
sixteen, ought to have her father as chaperon He accord- 
ingly promises to come to Rome as we haa proposed. 

If I could only believe it ! 

Friday, November iUh. — Until the evening all went on 
smoothly enough; but suddenly a very serious, temperate, 
and well-meant conversation arose concerning my future. 
Mamma expressed herself in most appropriate terms in 
every respect. 

This was the time to see rav father ! He kept his eyes 
fixed on the ground, and whistled ; but as to replying, not a 
bit of it 

The following is a specimen of a Little Russian dialogue 
which is characteristic of the nation, and which will at the 
same time give an idea of my father's style : — 
Two Peasants': — • 

First peasant : " We were walking together on the high- 
road ? " 

Second peasant : " Yes, we were walking." 

First peasant : " We found a pelisse ? " 

Second peasant : " We found it." 

First peasant : " I gave it to you." 
R 2 



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242 MARIE BASHKIRT8EFF. 

Second peasant : " You did." 

First peasant : " You took it." 

Second peasant : " I did take it" 

First peasant : " Where is it ? " 

Second peasant : "What?" 

First peasant : " The pelisse." 

Second peasant : " What pelisse ? " 

First peasant : " We were walking on the high-road ? " 

Second peasant : " Yes." 

First peasant : " We found a pelisse." 

Second peasant : " We did." 

First peasant : " I gave it to you." 

Second peasant : " You gave it to me." 

First peasant : " You took it" 

Second peasant : " I took it" 

First peasant : " Where is it, then ? " 

Second peasant : "What?" 

First peasant : " The pelisse." 

Second peasant : " What pelisse ? " 

And so on to infinity ; but I found no amusement in the 
subject. I felt suffocated, and there was a lump in my throat 
which hurt me dreadfully, especially as I would not allow 
myself to cry. 

I wished I could go away with Dina, and leave mamma 
with her husband at the Russian restaurant. 

For a whole hour I sat motionless, with rigid lips and a 
feeling of oppression on my chest ; I did not know what I was 
thinking of, nor what was going on around me. 

Then my father came and kissed my hair and hands and 
face with hypocritical sympathy, and said to me — 

" Should you ever really be in want of help or protection, 
say but one word to me, and I will assist you.' 

I collected my remaining strength, and suppressing my 
rising gorge I replied — 

"The day has come ; where is your assistance ? " 

" At present you do not need it," he answered, hurriedly. 

" Indeed, I do." 

"No, no!" 

And he changed the subject 

" Do you think, father, that the day will ever come when I 
shall be m need of money ? When that day does come I will 
become a singer or pianiste ; but I will not ask you for 
anything." 

He did not take offence; it satisfied him to see me 
miserable to the last degree. 



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PARIS, 1876. 243 

Saturday, November 25th. — Mamma is so ill that it is 
out of the question to take her to Versailles. Our friends 
called for us. I was dressed in white, as usual; but I 
wore a cap of black velvet, which suited my fair hair ad- 
mirably. It was raining. We were already in the compart- 
ment, when a gentleman, still young, but decorated with the 
order of the Legion of Honour, appeared. 

" Allow me, my dear," said the baroness, " to introduce 

to you M. J. de L , one of the leaders of Napoleon's 

party/' I bowed; while other introductions were going on 
around me. 

This procession of deputies brought to my mind the row 
of pigeon-shooters in Monaco ; but instead of guns they have 

portfolios. MM. de L placed us in the front seats, just 

above the Bonapartists ; so that we were immediately opposite 
the Republican oenches. The room, or at least the President's 
chair and the Tribune, also reminded me of the pigeon 
shooting ; only, instead of holding the string of the cages, 
Monsieur Gr6vy was struggling with the bell, which did not 
keep the left-hand party from interrupting repeatedly the 
excellent speech of Monsieur Dufaure, Keeper of the Great 
Seal 

He was an upright man, who had fought bravely and with 
great ability against the infamies of the Republican dogs. 

November 26th. — My father has gone ; this is the first 
time I have been able to breathe freely for four months. 

November 28th. — Mamma took me to Doctor Fauvel, who 
examined my throat with his new laryngoscope, and declared 
me to be suffering from catarrh and chronic sore throat, &c. 
(I do not doubt this statement when I consider the bad state 
of my throat) ; also that I shall require six weeks of powerful 
treatment. We shall therefore be compelled to spend the 
winter in Paris. Alas ! 

My father is acting in a delightful manner, to say the least 
of it First of all, he made me spend money while I was 
staying with him, and he did not pav the expenses of my 
journey ; then, feeling ashamed, he spoke to uncle Alexander, 
and went so far as to embrace him, and to declare that he 
would refund all my expenses. He need not have said 
anything about it, as no one had asked him for anything. 
He next allowed his Kouzma to go with his ill-omened 
horses, and I paid Kouzma's travelling expenses. And 
now here is mamma opening a letter addressed to ray 



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244 MARIE BJLSHKIRT8EFF. 

father from this very man : — " I am awaiting your instruc- 
tions, sir; having stopped here on my way. As regards 
Chocolat, I have sent him back to Poltava, according to 
your orders." 

And mind, my dear father has compelled me to 
give Kouzma 500 roubles, which he is in a fair way to 
eat up on his road. Upon my word, it is a handsome 
present ! 

" You have banished all society from your daughter, so 
that it might be said that nobody wanted her. You have 
hidden her because you did not wish her to be seen as she is, 
having never given a sou of your own towards her education." 
This is what mamma said ; and he answered by little stupid 
and disgusting jokes, without ever attempting to deny the 
fact, or to justify himself in any way. 

Friday, December ls£. — We left Paris yesterday ; mamma, 
with her thirty-six parcels, worked me up to a pitch of 
desperation. Her cries, her frights, and her boxes, are 
excruciatingly vulgar . . . 

At last ! 

Nice, Saturday, December 2nd. — My aunt brought me 
some coffee herseli ; I got two or three boxes unpacked, and, 
for the first time since my travels, felt myself again. In 
Russia I had no *un ; in Paris, no dresses. 

I beg you to observe my style of life. Packing and 
unpacking, trying on, buying, and travelling. The same thing 
over and over again. 

When I went into the garden I found M. Pelican with his 
doctor, Broussais ; Ivanoff, grandpapa's oculist ; General Wolf, 
General Bihovitz, and the Anitchkoffs. I had to show myself 
in order to please my mothers (aunt and mother), who are de- 
lighted to see me getting stouter. There's happiness for you ! 
But I leave them all to go and see my women of the Rue de 
France. 

What a reception ! 

They told me of all the marriages, deaths, and births. I 
asked how business was getting on. 

" Badly," I was told. 

" Ah well," I exclaimed, " all has been going wrong since 
France became a republic." 

This set me going. When it was known that I had visited 
the Chamber, the company drew back in awe, and afterwards 



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NICE, 1876. 245 

crowded round me. Then, with one arm akimbo, I made 
them a speech, well sprinkled with oaths and exclamations 
in the aialect of Nice, shewing them the Republicans 
with their hands in the people's gold, like my hands 
in this rice — and I plunged my paw into a sack of 
rice. . . . 

After such a long absence the sky of Nice enraptures me ; 
when I breathe the pure air, and look at the clear sky, my 
heart leaps with delight. 

The sea is slightly silvered by the sun, veiled under clouds 
of a soft and warm grey. The verdure is dazzling. . . How 
lovely it all is, and how delightful it would be to live in such 
a paradise! I started to walk on the promenade without 
troubling myself about the fact that I was hatless, and that 
there were many people passing by. Then I went in to 
put on a hat, ana to ask my aunt and Bihovitz to come out 
with me. I walked as far as the Pont du Midi, and returned, 
being seized with a fit of intense sadness. 

After all, the family circle has its charms. There has been 
card-playing and laughter ; tea has been served ; and I have 
felt pleasure at being amongst my own people, and surrounded 
by my beloved dogs — Victor, with his great black head ; 
Pincio, white as snow; Bagatelle, Prater . . . All this was 
before my eyes, and at this moment I see the old men making 
up their table ; those dogs ; that dining-room ... Oh ! it 
oppresses, it suffocates me ; I should like to take flight ; I 
feel chained up as in a nightmare. / cannot stand it ! I was 
not made for such a life. I cannot stand it ! For an instant 
I felt some vanity in talking on serious subjects with the 
older men . . . but after all they are only obscure old men . 
What good can they do me ? 

I so much dread remaining at Nice that the thought 
drives me mad. It seems to me that another winter will be 
lost, and that I shall get nothing done. 

The chances of working are denied me ! General Bihovitz 
sent me a large basket of flowers, and in the evening mamma 
watered it to keep the flowers fresh . . . Well, these little 
nothings madden me beyond endurance ; and this affectation 
of bourgeoisie makes me desperate. 

All ! divine mercy ! ah ! oy the God of heaven, I assure 
you that I am not jesting ! 

As I came in from tne pavilion, a bewitching moonlight 
lighted up my roses and magnolias . . . This poor garden 
which has inspired me with nothing but sad thoughts and 
atrocious vexation ! 



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246 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

I went back to my room ; my eyes were moist and sad — 
so sad. 

The recollections of Rome overpower me . . . But I 
will not go back there. We will go to Paris . . . Oh, Rome ! 
Why cannot I see Rome again, or else die here? I hold 
my breath, and stretch myself as if I wished to lengthen 
out as far as Rome. 

Sunday, December 3rd. — The changes in the sky are my 
only amusements. Yesterday it was pure, and the moon 
shone like a pale sun ; to-night it is fiill of dark fitful clouds, 
amongst which clear and brilliant patches like last night 
are visible. I made these observations on my way from the 
summer-house to my own room. 

In Paris there is no such air, no such verdure, nor the 
sweet rain that fell last night 

Thwrsday, December 7th. — Petty domestic worries dis- 
hearten me. 

I plunge deeply into serious reading, and see with despair 
how little I know. It seems to me that I shall never know 
all. I envy learned men, even those who are yellow, ema- 
ciated, and ugly. 

I am in a fever to study, and have no one to guide 
me. 

Monday, December 11th. — I become every day more 
enthusiastic about painting. I have been indoors all day, and 
have played music which exalted my mind and my heart 
It was not till I had conversed for two hours with grandpapa 
on the history of Russia that I felt composed again. I 
hate to be . . . sensitive ... In a young girl it means 
all sorts of littlenesses. Grandpapa is a walking cyclo- 
paedia. 

I know somebody who loves me and understands me, 
£ho feels for me, and spends an entire life in making me 
"happier — somebody who will do everything for me, and who 
will succeed — somebody who will never again betray me, 
though that happened once. And that somebody is myself. 
Let us not expect anything from men, for we shall find 
nothing but deceptions and sorrows. 

But let us believe firmly in God and our own strength. 
And as I am so ambitious I will justify my ambition by 
accomplishing something. 



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NICE, 1876. 247 

Monday, December ISth. — Yesterday I was awakened to 
read a card from my father, which bore these words : "I am 
at the Hdtel du Luxembourg with my sisters ; come, if you 
can, directly." 

By the advice of my mother, at one o'clock precisely I 
accept this invitation, and again before going in I ask if it is 
proper. All the answer I get is that my graceless father 
and aunt Helene come to the carriage and carry me off very 
affectionately to their rooms. 

Aunt H61&ne and the princess do not interfere with 
anything ; they speak to me of the Cardinal, and advise me 
to go to Rome in search of his nephew and his money. 

" The poor young man is over there," said I. 

"Where?" 

" In Servia." 

" Oh no ! he is at Rome." 

Perhaps he has come back as there is no more fighting ; 
I dined yesterday with a Russian volunteer just arrived from 
Servia. 

Afterwards we talked of Tutcheff ; I treated her in the 
most contemptuous manner, threatening her with an accu- 
sation for libel 

Let them attack my family or my mother ; they have it in 
their power to defend themselves. But let them not touch 
me ; for as true as I am a defenceless creature, whom it would 
be cowardly to slander, I will revenge myself bravely — for the 
very good reason that I fear nothing. 

San Remo, Saturday, December 23rd. — My father con- 
sents to come with me for two days, but accompanied by 
mamma. 

While awaiting mamma, to whom I have telegraphed, 
asking her to come, I am spending a few hours at Villa Rocca 
with rrincess Eristoff. Aunt Romanoff — heroic creature ! — 
remains in solitude at the hotel. She naturally refuses to 
associate with the society I frequent. But do you see the 
part this woman is playing to humour my caprice ? I adore 
her! 

Monday, December 25th. — My father and mother and 
myself left San Remo yesterday. What were my thoughts 
during the journey ? Of course, charming dreams and castles 
in the air dominated all other feelings, and created for me, 
as usual, a life quite distinct from all things human. This 
agreeable state was interrupted by the stopping of the train 



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248 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

near Albiasola station, because of a land-slip on the line. 
So we were obliged to get out, to lay hold of our luggage, 
and walk for a few minutes to meet another train wnich 
was coming to pick us up. All this took place by the 
flickering light of torches, which against a black sky, and 
accompanied by the roar of the angry waters, was most 
picturesque. 

This accident was the occasion of our entering into con- 
versation with our fellow-travellers, one of whom was a 
military man. The}' carried our bags, and helped us also 
through this difficult passage. The officer was a tolerably 
well-educated and intelligent man, and to his surprise I drew 
him into a serious and even rather wild conversation — on 
politics. 

As soon as dawn came I was at my window, so that I 
might not lose for a single moment the sight of the country 
near Rome. 

Why can't I express all the beautiful things it brings to 
my mind, and which so many others have saia so often, and 
in such charming language ? 

I was so absorbed in looking out for the different places 
.... the front of our train was already under the glass roof 
of the station, and I was still looking out for the crowded 
roof of San Giovanni di Laterano. The wife of the Spanish 
Ambassador was there ; she had come to meet some ladies. I 
turned away my head when she recognised me; I was ashamed 
of coming back to Rome .... I fancied that I was looked 
upon as an ... . intruder. 

We alight at the old hotel, and take the same rooms. I 

fo up-stairs, and lean on the knob at the corner of the 
anisters, as I had done the other night. 

With an angry glance at the staircase door I take pos- 
session of the red damask room .... Would you believe 
it ? — with thoughts of Pietro. 

Wednesday, December 27th. — Mamma was talking of the 
death of Rossi, when this amiable lobster came caracoling in 
behind us. 

" Well," said he, after the preliminary civilities, " so poor 
Pietro A has lost his uncle." 

" Yes, poor fellow ! Has nothing been left to him ? " 

" Oh yes, the plate." 

This produced much gaiety. After which I asked Rossi, 
with very easy frankness, what had been said. (We were 
talking in Italian.) 



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ROME, 1876. 249 

" You see," I added, " we are not known, and I might very 
well be taken for one of those foreigners who come to Rome 
to look out for a husband." 

We talked for some time, and I am almost convinced 
that the company did not attach any importance to the 
incident. 

" No one has thought of him in regard to you ; he is a 

Eoor fellow without fortune or position. At first it was 
elieved. ... In any case, you nave given him a shock, 
and he will now perhaps amend his ways — that is to say, 
improve. 

" But he is a ne'er-do-welL" 

" Oh dear no ; poor young fellow ' He is suffering very 
much. . . ." 



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250 



CHAPTER V. 

NICE, ROME, NAPLES, FLORENCE, SCHLANGENBAD, PARIS, 1877. 

Nice, Wednesday, January 17 tL — When shall I know 
what love is, of which I hear so much ? I might have loved 

A ; but I despise him. I did love the Duke of H to 

distraction when I was a child ; it was a love due entirely to 
the fortune, renown, or extravagances of the Duke, and to an 
unregulated imagination. . . . 

Tuesday, January 23rd. — Yesterday evening I had such a 
fit of despair that I groaned aloud, and felt impelled to throw 
the dining-room clock into the sea. Dina ran after me, fear- 
ing that I had some sinister design; but it was only the 
clock, after all It was of bronze, with a Paul without a 
Virginia fishing with rod and line, and wearing a very be- 
coming hat Dina comes to my room ; the incident of the 
clock seems to amuse her very much. I laughed also. Poor 
clock ! 

Princess Souvaroff came to see us. 

Thursday, February 1st. — The ladies were preparing to 
go and get rid of a few miserable hundreds of francs 
at Monaco. I brought them to their senses by a most bitter 
speech, and mamma and I went for a drive in a basket 
carriage, to show ourselves in the daylight, and to call on the 
Countess de Ballore, who is so amiable, and whom, like ill- 
bred persons, we neglect. 

We saw Diaz de Soria, the incomparable singer. I in- 
vited him, as he had called. It seemed to me that I saw a 
friend in him. I feel just in the mood to betake myself 
to that stage-box on tne left-hand side of the pit at the 
Th&ltre Franyais, where Agar of the Com6die Fran9aise com- 
pany is playing. I have heard Les Horaces. The name of 
Rome has over and over again rung in my ears with a superb 
and sublime sound. 

On coming home I read Livy. The heroes, the folds of 
the togas . . . the Capitol, the Cupola . . . the bal masqui, 
the Pincio ! . . . O Rome ! 

Ranie, Thursday, February 8th. — I fell asleep at Ven- 

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ROME, NAPLES, 1877. 261 

timiglia, and did not wake up again, morally and physically 
speaking, till I got to Rome. I was obliged to remain there 
till the evening, in spite of my wish to go, for the train to 
Naples does not start before ten o'clock. A whole day at 
Rome! 

At twenty minutes past nine I left Rome; I went to 
sleep, and found myself at Naples. I had not, however, 
slept soundly enough not to hear an irritable gentleman 
who was making complaints to the conductor about the 
presence of Prater. The gallant conductor stood up for 
our dog. 

But here we are at Naples. I wonder if you feel as I do 
at the approach of a large and beautiful city ; I am seized 
with palpitations, and become restless. I should like to have 
the town all to myself It takes us more than an hour to 
get to the Hdtel du Louvre. The streets are obstructed, full 
of noise, and in a state of dreadful disorder. The heads 
of the women here are something too extravagant; they 
might pass for those female monsters exhibited in menageries 
with serpents, tigers, &c. At Rome I like only what is old ; 
at Naples I admire only what is new. 

Sunday, February 11th. — To understand our position in 
the Toledo, one must know by experience what it is to be 
there on a day when it is the custom to throw coriandoli 
(comfits made of chalk or flour). But he who has not seen it 
can have no idea of these thousands of hands with black 
and scraggy arms, these rags, these splendid carriages, these 
feathers and gilt decorations, but especially of those hands 
and fingers whose agility is enough to make even Liszt him- 
self die of jealousy. Amidst this rain of flour, these cries, this 
swarm of people, we were suddenly dragged off* by Altamura, 
and almost carried to his balcony. There we met a number 
of ladies . . . and all these amiable people were offering me 
refreshments, and smiling. I retired to a naif-lighted drawing- 
room, and there, covered from head to foot m my cloak, I 
began to weep, while at the same time admiring the antique 
folds of the woollen mantle. I was very sad, but it was a sad- 
ness mixed with pleasure. Do you feel a pleasure in sadness, 
as I do ? 

Naples, Monday, February 26th. — I continue my ex- 
cursions, and we go to San Martino, an ancient convent I 
never saw anything so sympathetic. Most museums bore 



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252 MABIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

you, but the one at San Martino is amusing and attractiva 
The syndic's old carriage . . . and Charles Ill's galley have 
turned my head ; and then these corridors with mosaic floors, 
these ceilings with their grand mouldings ! The church and 
the chapels are marvellous; their moderate size enables you to 
appreciate the details. What a collection of splendid marbles 
of precious stones, of mosaics in every corner, from floor 
to ceiling! I don't remember seeing any striking paint- 
ings, excepting those of Guido Reni and of Spagnoletto ; 
the careful works of Fra Buonaventura ; the old Capo-di- 
Monte porcelains; the portraits worked in silks; and a 
picture on glass representing the episode of Potiphar's wifa 
The white marble courtyard with its sixty pillars is of rare 
beauty. 

Our guide tells us that there are only five monks remain- 
ing — three brethren and two laymen, who live somewhere 
aloft in one of the forsaken wings. We go up a sort of 
tower with two balconies overhanging other heights which 
look like precipices; the view from that point is astound - 
ingly beautiful Mountains, villas, plains, and Naples itself, 
are visible through a sort of blue mist imparted to it by 
the distance. 

"What is eoing on to-day in Naples?" I said, in a 
listening attituae. 

"Oh, nothing," the guide answered, smiling; "you only 
hear the Neapolitans." 

" Then do you always hear it ? " 

" Yes ; always." 

A continual roar and clamour rose from the mass of roofe 
below, an uninterrupted explosion of voices, which you have no 
idea of in the town itself It produces a sort of terror ; while 
the confused murmur, rising with that blue vapour, makes you 
realise, with a sensation of giddiness, to what a height you 
have climbed. 

I am enraptured with these marble chapels. A country 

Kssessing such treasures as Italy is the richest in the worla. 
dy, as compared with the rest of the world, seems to me a 
magnificent picture beside a whitewashed walL 

How could I presume to form an opinion of Naples last 
year ? Had I seen it even ? 

Saturday, March 3rd. — To-night I went to church — 
it is in the hotel itself; there is an infinite charm in medi- 
tating on love under the roof of a church. When I saw 
the priest, the images, the lighted tapers imparting waver- 



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NAPLES, 1877. 253 

ing shadows to the darkness, I remembered Rome. Divine 
ecstasy ! heavenly perfume ! exquisite rapture ! Oh for the 
power to write ! 

The feelings which absorbed me could only be ex- 
pressed in song. The pillars of St. Peter's, its marbles and 
mosaics; the mysterious depth of the church ; the bewil- 
dering splendour and majesty of art, antiquity, the Middle 
Ages, great men and their monuments — all this passed 
before me. 

Saturday, March 'Slst. — What is the good of complain- 
ing ? My tears are vain ; I am doomed to unhappiness. 
Unhappiness yet a little while longer, and then for the 
artist's fame ! And if ... I should fail ! . . . Have no 
fear; I shall not live to moulder away in some corner 
amid domestic virtues. I will talk no more of love, for I 
have used its name to no purpose. I will not call upon God 
any more ; I want to die. O God, Lord Jesus Christ, let me 
die ! I have lived but a short time, yet I have been 
taught much; everything has been against me. I want to 
die ; I am incoherent ana confused, like my writings ; I hate 
myself as I hate everything that is wortUess. 

Let me die ... . my God! let me die! I have had 
enough of it ! 

On, for an easy death ! to die while singing one of Verdi's 
beautiful airs. I feel no spite, as I used to do when I wished 
to live on purpose to prevent others from rejoicing and 
triumphing over me. Now, I suffer too much to care. 

Sunday, April 1st. — I am like the patient and inde- 
fatigable chemist who spends his nights before his retorts so 
as not to lose the expected and longed-for moment. It seems 
to me every day that it must come, and I dream and 
wait . . . 

I examine myself with curiosity and amazement, asking 
myself anxiously if by chance this is it. But I have formed 
such an exalted opinion of it that I have come to the 
conclusion that it does not exist, or else that it has come 
already, and that it is nothing very wonderful after all But 
what of all my visions? What of all my books and 
poets ? . . . . Have they had the audacity to invent something 
which does not exist, in order to disguise inherent nastiness ? 
No; .... for how could personal preferences be explained 
in that case ? . . . . 



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254 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Navies, Friday, April 6th. — The king (Victor Em- 
manuel) arrived yesterday, and this morning, at ten o'clock, 
he called to see the Prince of Prussia. At the moment of 
his arrival I was standing on the stairs, and when he came 
opposite to me I said — 

" May I crave a word from you, Sire ? " 

" What do you wish ? " 

"Absolutely nothing, Sire, but to have the power of 
boasting all my life that I have spoken to the kindest and 
best of kings." 

" You are very good ; I thank you very much." 

" That is really all, Sire." 

" I thank you so much I do not know how to thank you 
enough ; you are really very kind." 

He pressed my left hand in both his, an event after which 
I wear gloves for a week. It is owing to my gloves that I 
am writing as you see. What beautiful nails I snail have in 
a week ! What are you saying of me ? I was not much 
frightened. In doing what I did, I foresaw everything but the 
consequences to mysel£ To any one else this daring action 
would have brougnt only delight; but to me it brought a 
crowd of vexations. ... 1 am doomed to misfortune. Doenhoff 
returned from the palace, where the prince went to return the 
king's visit The king's aide-de-camp remarked, "What 
strange behaviour of this young girl to put herself in the 
king's wav ! " And the Prince of Prussia replied that voung 
Russian ladies are very enthusiastic about the royal foinily, 
that they do all kinds of foolish things for the Emperor, and 
that thev are as pure as the angels of heaven Many thanks, 
good pealar. 

Doenhoff has said a heap of things, and, at last, has 
come to reassure us. 

After being violently agitated, and wild with terror, I 
begin to feel myself again. Never in my life have I been so 
frightened. In one hour I have lived through two years. 
How lucky every one else must be not to have spoken to the 
king! 

We go out walking. Princess Maiguerite and Humbert 
have arrived. Doenhoff is here, opposite our windows, with 
some of the king's gentlemen (I have taken off my 
gloves.) 

When we got home from the races, we found a gentle- 
man in the ante-room. I was going to inquire who it 
was, when Rosalie rushed to me, and drawing me aside — 



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NAPLE8, 1877. 255 

" Come quickly, but do not be excited' 
" What is it ? " 

" It is the king's aide-de-camp, who has called three 
times already ; he comes from the king to make an 



The next moment I was before him ; and we were 
all in the drawing-room. He spoke in Italian; and I was 
astonished at the ease with wnich I conversed in that 
language. 

" Mademoiselle," he began, " I am sent by the king 
for the purpose of expressing to you how much he regrets all 
the vexation which you may have been made to feel yesterday. 
His Majesty heard that you had been . . . scolded by your 
mother, who may have thought that the king was annoyed. 
Not at all ; the king is delighted, enchanted ; he spoke of it 
all day long, and in the evening he called me and said — c Go 
and tell that young lady that I thank her for her courteous 
behaviour towards me ; tell her that her gracefulness and her 
generous impulse have touched me, and that I offer my 
thanks to her, and also to all her family. Far from being 
angry, I am charmed ; tell her mamma so (ma mamma). 
Say that I shall never forget it. The king saw that this 
impulse came from your generous heart, and that was what 
pleased him. The king knows that you had no object in 
view, as you are strangers ; that is the very reason why he 
is so touched. He never left off talking of it, and has 
sent me to apologise for the annoyance you have had 
through it" 

Mamma made Count Doenhoff believe that I had been 
locked up for twenty-four hours as a punishment for my 
escapade, and the rumour soon spread — especially as I had 
remained hidden behind the windows of the balcony while 
Dina went out walking with mamma. 

I had interrupted nim repeatedly, and at last I broke out 
with a flood of joy and gratitude. 

" It is truly too kind of the king to think of sending to 
reassure me ; I was silly, and behaved as though I had been 
in my own country, ana was meeting with my own Emperor, 
to whom I have spoken." (It is a fact) "I should be 
so distressed if the king had felt the slightest annoyance 
at what I have done ; I was terribly afraid that I had 
offended the king. Perhaps I shocked him by my abrupt- 
ness . . ." 

" The king is never alarmed when there is a bella ragazza 
in question ; and I repeat to you again, in the name of the 



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256 MARIE BASRKIRT8EFF. 

king — they are his own words, without any addition of mine 
— that, ' far from being annoyed, he was delighted, charmed, 
and grateful/ You gave him a great pleasure. The king had 
noticed you last year at Rome, and at the carnival in 
Naples . . . and he was very much displeased with Count 
Doenhoff, whose name he took note of, and who said some- 
thing to prevent you from being present when the king took 
his departure." 

I must admit that Doenhoff, in his terror, had shut the 
door ; a fact which I had not noticed, being far too excited to 
even think of seeing the king again. 

" I have spoken all the time in the name of the king, and 
have repeated to you his own words." 

" In that case, Monsieur, take him back mine. Tell the 
king that I am charmed, and too highly honoured; that 
his attention has touched me most keenly ; that I shall 
never forget the kindness and exquisite delicacy of the 
king; that I am too happy and honoured. Tell the king 
that I conducted myself like a silly girl ; but as he is not so 
very angry about it. . . ." 

" Delighted, Mademoiselle." 

This will be my fondest recollection. How can one 
help adoring the royal family when they are so kind, so 
affable ? I can well understand the affection which is 
entertained towards the king, Prince Humbert, and Princess 
Marguerite. 

And, to end with, the gentleman begged mamma to give 
him her card to take to the king. 

After this, I no longer dread what people may say 
about it — quite the contrary. Let's have a flourish of 
trumpets ! 

Smce the king is not fiirious, I am in the seventh heaven. 

It is going round the hotel that he kissed my hand. 

Doenhoff has returned from the palace, where a dinner 
has been given for one hundred and thirty people. The king 
spoke of me, and more than once he repeated, " She is ex- 
ceedingly prettv." 

The king Being a good judge, his opinion exalts me 
considerably in the eyes of Doenhoff' and all the others. 

Tuesday, April 17th. — Every citizen must go through his 
period of military service ; so must everybody feel the power 
of love. I have served my eight days, and am free agam till 
further notice. . . . 



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FLORENCE, NIOE, 1877. 257 

" Remittuntur ei peccata multa quare dilexit multum." — 
Luke. 

"Dulciores sunt lacrynne orantium quam gaudia thoa- 
trorum." — Augustine. 

Florence, Tuesday, May StL — Would you like to 
know the truth ? Well, remember what I am going to 
tell you — I love nobody, and shall never love, but one 
person, who will gracefully pamper my self-love . . . my 
vanity. 

When you feel yourself beloved, you do everything for tlie 
other one, and then there is no feeling of shame ; on the con- 
trary, it makes you feel heroic. 

I know very well that I would never ask anything for 
myself; but for another I would do a hundred meannesses, 
for it is by mean actions that one rises. 

This again proves clearly that the finest actions 
are done for self ... To ask for myself would be sublime, 
because it would cost me : . . Oh! how horrid even to 
think of it ! . . . But for another it is a pleasure, and it 
looks like self-sacrifice, like devotion, like charity per- 
sonified. 

And on such occasions you believe in your own merit. 
You really believe yourself to be charitable, devoted, and 
sublime. 

Friday, May llth. — Did I mention that Gardigiani had 
been to see us, and had given me encouragement, had prom- 
ised me an artistic future, had found many good points in 
my sketches, and had expressed a great wish to paint my 
portrait ? 

Florence, Saturday, May 12th. — It wrings my heart to 
leave Florence . . . We are going to Nice ! I look forward to 
it as to crossing a desert : I should like to shave all my hair 
off, so as not to have the trouble of dressing it. 

We pack, we are ready to start ! The ink dries on my 
pen before I make up my mind to write down a word, so 
oppressed am I with regrets. 

Nice, Wednesday, May 16tL — I have been running 

about all the morning, looking for a few trifles which are 

wanting to my ante-room ; but in this horrid country there's 

nothing to be had. I have been to a stained-glass maker, to 

s 2 



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258 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

a tinman, and I don't know whom. The notion that my 
journal will not be interesting, and the difficulty which 1 
find in imparting any interest to it, while I am keeping 
back some startling details, torments me. If I wrote only 
at intervals, I might perhaps . . . but these notes of each 
day will entertain only a thinking mind, some great observer 
of human nature .... Those who have not the patience to 
read all, will not read any, and, above all, will understand 
nothing. 

I feel happy in my soft and elegant nest, in my flowery 
garden ; Nice is forgotten, and I feel as if I were alone in the 
country. 

Nice, Wednesday, May 23rd. — Oh ! when I think that 
we live but once, and that each minute brings us nearer to 
death, I feel as if I must go mad ! I do not tear death, but 
life is so short that it is infamous to waste it ! 

Thursday, May 2Uh. — Two eyes are insufficient, or else 
I must remain idle. Reading and drawing tire me very 
much, and at night, when writing these sorry lines, I feel 
sleepy. 

An, how delightful is youth ! 

With what pleasure 1 shall look back upon these days 
devoted to study and to art ! If I were only to pursue this 
course for the entire year ! But of what avail is a day, a 
week taken at random ? . . . Natures so richly endowed by 
God prey upon themselves in idleness. 

I try to calm myself by thinking that I will certainly 
settle down to work this winter ; but my seventeen years 
make me blush to the roots of my hair. Nearly seventeen 
years, and what have I done ? Nothing . . . This is what 
overwhelms me. 

I look out among the celebrities for those who have 
commenced late in fife, in order to console myself: yes, 
but seventeen years is nothing for a man, whereas a 
woman of that age would be twenty-three if she were a 
maa 

To go and live in Paris ... in the North, after this 
glorious sun, these pure and delicious nights. What is left 
to desire or to love after Italy ? . . . Paris is, no doubt, the 
centre of the civilised world, of intelligence, of wit, of fashion, 
and we go there and stay and find pleasure in it ; in fact, 
it is the place to go to for ... a multitude of things, and 
also in order to return with enhanced delight to the country 



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NICE, 1877. 259 

of God and of the elect — the enchanted, marvellous divine 
country, all descriptions of which will fail to convey its sur- 
passing beauty ana mysterious charm. 

On reaching Italy we may make fun of its hovels and its 
litzzaroni, and we may show much wit, and even insight in 
doing so. But forget for an instant that you are witty, and 
that it is very amusing to jeer at everyttiing, and you, like 
me, will be m an ecstasy, alternately weepmg ana laugh- 
ing with admiration . . . 

I was going to say that the moonlight is enchanting, 
and that in mat mighty Paris I shall no longer enjoy 
this calm, this poetry, these divine delights of Nature and 
of heaven. 

Tuesday, May 29th. — The more I approach the old age of 
my youth the more indifferent I become. Few things dis- 
turb me now, whereas everything used to do so formerly ; so 
that in reading the account of my past life over again, I 
attribute too much importance to trifles through seeing how 
they made my blood boil. Confidence, trustfulness, and that 
sensitiveness which is, as it were, the down of a character, 
have been very quickly lost. 

I the more regret losing that freshness of feeling, because 
it never comes back. One is more calm, but one's enjoyment 
is not so keen. I ought not to have known so early what 
deception meant ; ana had that knowledge been withheld, 
I feel that I should have become a sort of supernatural 
being. 

I have just devoured a book which has disgusted me 
with love. A charming princess in love with a painter ! 
Fie! 

I say this, not to insult painters by a poor attempt at wit, 
but ... I don't know ; it jars. My ideas have always been 
aristocratic, and I believe in races of men as in races of 
animals. Noble races often, and at the beginning always 
became so only through education, moral and physical, trans- 
mitting its effects from father to son. Why trouble about the 
cause ? 

Wednesday, May 30th. — I have been turning over the 

leaves of the A period. The course of reasoning which I 

pursued is truly astonishing. I marvel and wonder, for I had 
forgotten all tnose true and accurate arguments, and my 
anxiety was considerable lest people should think that I had 



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260 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

been in love (in the past) with Count A . Thank God 

that, owing to this precious journal, no one will be able to 
think so. 

Really I did not think I had said so many truths, or that I 
could have thought them. It is a year ago, and I was really 
afraid that I had written nonsense ; but I didn't, and am so 
pleased. The only thing I don't understand is how I could 
act so foolishly and reason so well. 

I must tell myself again and again that no advice in the 
world would have prevented a single step, and that experience 
was what I wanted. 

I am rather displeased at being so wise ; but it must be 
so ; and when I become accustomed to it, I shall regard it as a 
very simple matter, and will again raise myself into that ideal 
purity which is always somewhere in the soul. Then, which 
is stul better, I shall be calmer, prouder, happier, because I 
shall be able to appreciate it ; whereas at present I am vexed, 
as if for another person. 

Indeed, the woman who is writing, and her whom I 
describe, are really two persona What are all her troubles 
to me? I tabulate, analyse, and copy the daily life of my 

ferson; but to me, to myself, all that is very indifferent 
t is my pride, my self-love, my interests, my envelope, my 
eyes, which suffer, or weep, or rejoice ; but /, myself, am 
tnere only to watch, to write, to relate, and to reason calmly 
about these great miseries, just as Gulliver must have looked 
at the Lilliputians. 

I have still plenty to say, in order to explain ; but let 
this suffice. 

Monday, June llth. — Yesterday evening, while they were 
playing at cards, I made a sort of sketch bv the light of two 
candles which flickered very much in the wind, and this 
morning I have made a first araft of our players on canvas. 

I am all eagerness to paint four persons seated ; of 
showing the positions of the hands, the aims, and the 
expressions. Hitherto I have only painted single heads, 
large and small ; I contented myself with sowing them, like 
flowers, on the canvas. 

Paris, Saturday, July 7th. — I think I can fairly say that I 
have become more reasonable, though very recently, and I see 
things in a tolerably clear light; ar.d have got over many 
illusions and many vexations. 

We only learn true wisdom by personal experience. 



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PARIS, 1877. 261 

Sunday, July 15tL — I am bored to death; so much so 
indeed that I think there is nothing in the world which can 
amuse or interest me. I wish for nothing ! I want nothing ! 
Ay, I should very much like not to be ashamed of sinking 
into stupidity. In short, to be able to live without doing 
anything, or thinking of anything, like a plant, without 
any remorse of conscience. 

Captain B has spent the evening with us, and we 

talked together ; but I am fairly out of conceit with my 
conversational efforts since I have read what Mme. de Stael 
says about foreigners imitating the brilliancy of the French. 
According to her, one must hide in one's hole, and never dare 
to come in contact with the sublime genius of the French. 

Reading, drawing, music, and ennui, ennui, ennui/ 
Some living thing is necessary besides occupation and 
relaxation ; and I am bored. 

I am not bored because I am a marriageable young lady. 
No; you have too good an opinion of me to believe that. But 
I am bored because my life is cross-grained, and because I am 
bored! 

Paris is killing me ! It is a cafe, a well-managed hotel, 
a bazaar. Well, I can only hope that in the winter, what 
with the opera, the Bois, and my studies, I shall get used 
to it. 

Tuesday, July 17th. — I have spent the day in seeing real 
marvels of old and artistic embroideries and costumes, which 
are in themselves genuine poems of chivalrous or pastoral life 
— all sorts of splendid things which have given me a glimpse 
of a luxury I scarcely suspected ; and this luxury not in the 
demi-monde, but in good society. Ah, Italy ! . . . If I give 
up a month twice a year to my clothes, it is only that I 
may not have to trouble myself about them afterwards. 
How stupid it is to devote one's chief attention to dress 
In my case, dresses lead me to costumes, and costumes to 
history. 

Wednesday, July ISth. — Italy! This word is enough to 
make me tremble as no other name or person ever did. 

Oh ! when shall I go there ? 

I should be so vexed if it were thought that I write Oh ! 
and Ah! through affectation. I don't know why I should 
think that I am not believed, but I feel so ; and therefore I 
make too many protestations, which itn't pleasant, besides 
being stupid 



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262 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

You see, I want to alter my style, and write quite simply, 
and am afraid that upon comparison with my past extrava- 
gances no one will understand what I want to say. 

Listen! Since I left Naples — that is to say, since my 
Russian journey— I have already tried to correct myself, and 
I think tnat I have somewhat improved. 

I want to relate things quite naturally ; and if I add some 
figures of speech, do not think that it is for the sake of 
ornament Oh no ; it is simply to express, as perfectly as 
possible, the confusion of my iaeas. 

I am quite exasperated at not being able to write what 
will make others weep. I should so much like to make others 
feel what I feel ! I weep, and I say that / weep. This is not 
what I want to do ; I want to tell it all ... m short, uiove 
others to tears. 

This will come, but not of itself; however, it's useless to 
seek for it 

lhur8day y Jidy 26th. — I have been drawing the whole day 
long ; playing the mandoline to rest my eyes ; and then again 
drawing, and then playing the piano. There's nothing in the 
world like art, in whatever stage — at its commencement, as 
well as at its highest development 

Everything is forgotten m thinking of what we produce : 
we look at these outlines and shadows with respect and ten- 
derness ; we create, and feel ourselves almost great 

I am afraid of injuring my sight, and have not read in 
the evening for three days ; just lately I have begun to see 
everything confusedly at the distance of the pavement from 
the carriage, which is certainly not very far. 

This disturbs me. If, after losing my voice, I am to be 
compelled to give up drawing and reading, in that case I shall 
not complain ; for that would be as much as to say that no 
one was to blame for all my other vexations, and that such is 
the will of God. 

Monday, Jidy 30th. — It is said that many young girl* 
write down their impressions ; and that stupid Vie 
Parisienixe says it in a tolerably contemptuous manner. I 
sincerely hope that 1 am not a neutral, envious, ignorant 
creature of this kind, inhaling mystery and depravity at every 
pore. 

Fauvel is stopping my travels at Enghien, and is perhaps 
going to send me to Germany, which will again set every- 
thing topsy-turvy. Walitzky is a clever man, and under- 



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PARIS, 1877. 263 

stands every kind of ailment ; I had hoped that he was making 
a mistake in recommending Soden, but now Fauvel agrees with 
him. 

Wednesday, August 1st — "Two feelings are common to 
proud and affectionate natures — extreme susceptibility to the 
opinion of others, and extreme grief when tnat opinion is 
unjust" 

What adorable creature has written that ? I do not 
remember ; but I have already quoted that line just a year 
ago, and I beg you to remember it sometimes when thinking 
of me. 

Sunday, August 5th. — When in want of bread, one 
certainly dares not speak of sweetmeats. Thus, at the 
present moment, I am ashamed to speak of my artistic 
nopes ; I no longer dare to say that, in order to work 
better, I want such and such arrangements — that I want 
to be in Italy to study. It is very trying to me to say 
all this. 

Even if all my desires were granted, I don't think that 
I could any longer be satisfied, as I would have been 
formerly. 

Nothing restores lost confidence ; and this, like everything 
irrevocable, makes me thoroughly wretched. 

I am disappointed and melancholy; I take no notice 
of anything or anybody. My face is careworn ; and this 
disfigures me by taking away that confiding look which I 
used to have. 1 can no longer talk ; my friends first look at 
me with astonishment, and then take their departure ; then I 
try to be amusing, and end by being extraordinarily extra- 
vagant, impertinent, and stupid. 

Monday, August 6th. — You think that I am not distressed 
on account of Russia I Who is so wretched or so contempt- 
ible as to forget his country when it is in danger ? ... Do 
you think that this fable of the race between the nare and the 
tortoise, applied to Russia and Turkey, does not pain me ? 
Because I talk of pigeons and American ladies, am I there- 
fore not distressed — seriously distressed — on account of our 
war? 

Do you think that the himdred thousand slaughtered 
Russians would have lost their lives if my vows could have 
saved, my anxieties could have defended, them ? 



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264 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Tuesday, August 7th. — I have been to stupefy myself at 
the Bon March6, which pleases me, as everything which is 
well arranged does. We have had a supper party, and a 
merry one. I, too, have laughed ; but . . . what matter ! . . . 
I am desperately sad. 

It is impossible ! ! Oh ! terrible, despairing, horrible, and 
frightful word !! ! To die! My God, to die!!! To die!!!! 
Without leaving anything behind me ? To die like a dog ! 
just as a hundred thousand women have died, whose names 
are barely inscribed on their tombstones. To die like . . . 

Fool, fool, that I am, not to see what God wills! God 
wills that I should renounce everything, and give myself up 
entirely to art In five years I shall still be quite young 
— perhaps beautiful, after my style of beauty. . . . But 
if I should become only an artistic mediocrity, as so many 
are! 

As far as the world goes it would be all very well ; but 
to give up one's life to it, and not succeed. . . . 

At Paris, as everywhere else, there is a Russian colony. 
It is not these paltry considerations that provoke me ; but 
because, paltry as they are, they fill me with despair, and 
prevent me from thinking of my greatness. 

What is life without congenial society ? What can one do 
left entirely to oneself ? This it is that makes me detest the 
whole world, my family — even to myself — and makes me utter 
blasphemies. To live, to live ! . . . . Holy Mary, Mother 
of God, Lord Jesus Christ, my God, come and help 
me! 

But to devote oneself to art, one should go to Italy. 
Yes, to Rome. Oh! this granite wall against which I am 
dashing my forehead every instant ! . . . 

I will stay where I am. 

Sunday, August 12th. — I have sketched the poitrait of 
Antoinette, the chambermaid of the establishment, She has 
a chaiming face and blue eyes, large and brilliant, and of 
exquisite naivete and sweetness. That's where it is ; the 
sketch is always successful, but it is impossible to finish 
without having studied. 

Friday, August Vlth. — I am certain that I cannot live 
away from Rome. In fact, I am simply perishirg — or, at all 
events, I have no wish for anything. I would ghe Uo years 
of my life to have not yet been in Rome. 



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PARIS, 1877. 265 

Unfortunately, we only learn how to do things when 
there is no longer anything to be done. 

Painting maddens me, because there is the material for 
marvellous productions in me, and yet, as regards studies, 
I am worse off than the first little street-girl who shows 
traces of talent and is sent to schooL However, I hope that 
posterity, in its rage at having lost what I might have 
created, will at all events behead all my family. 

You think that I am still anxious to go into society ! 
No, I am so no longer. I am soured and disgusted ; and I am 
turning artist, just as malcontents become republicans. 

I think I am slandering myself 

Saturday, August 18th. — When I was reading Homer I 
used to compare niv aunt in her anger to Hecuba at the 
burning of Troy. Dull as one may oe, and ashamed to 
acknowledge one's admiration for the classics, nevertheless 
it seems to me that no one can escape that adoration of 
the ancients. We may well be unwilling to go on always 
saying the same thing; we may well be afraid of seeming 
to transcribe what we have read in professional admirers, 
or of repeating our professor's words— especially at Paris 
we don't dare to speak of these things, we really don't dare. 

And yet there is no modern drama, no novel, no 
sensational comedy, even by Dumas or George Sand, of which 
I have so vivid a recollection, or which has made such a deep 
and natural impression upon me, as the description of the 
capture of Troy. 

I seem to have assisted at those horrors, to have heard 
those cries and seen the fire, to have been with Priam's family, 
and with those miserable creatures who were hiding behind 
the altars of their gods, where the sinister gleams of the fire 
which was devouring their city would soon find them out and 
deliver them up. . . . 

And who can help teeling a slight shudder when reading 
about the appearance of Creusa's ghost ? 

But when I think of Hector, who after coming to the foot 
of the ramparts with such excellent intentions, flies before 
Achilles, and runs thrice round the town pursued by his 
enemy .... I laugh. . . . 

And as for the hero who, having passed a thong in or 
about his dead enemy's feet, drags Trim three times round 
these same ramparts, he makes me think of an odious urchin 
riding a-cock-horse on a stick with a huge wooden sabre by 
his side. . . . 



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266 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

I don't know .... but it seems to nie that I shall 
not be able to satisfy iny world-wide day-dreams except at 
Rome. ... 

There you feel, as it were, at the top of the civilised 
world. 

I have thrown aside the Journal d'un Diplomate en 
Italie; this French elegance, this extreme civility, this 
commonplace admiration, make me angry where Rome is 
concerned. 

A Frenchman always seems to me to be dissecting things 
with a long instrument held delicately between his fingers 
and a magnifying glass in his eye. 

Rome should be, as a city, what I imagined myself to be 
as a woman ; every word used previously and for others is a 
profanation when applied to .... it*. 

Sunday, August 19th. — I have just finished reading 
Ariadne by Ouida. This book has saddened me, and yet 
I almost envy the fate of Gioja. 

Gioja has been brought up on Homer and Virgil ; after her 
father's death she comes on foot to Rome. There a terrible 
disillusion awaits her. She expected to find the Rome of 
Augustus. 

For two years she studies in the studio of Marix, the most 
celebrated sculptor of the period, who, unknown to himself, 
falls in love witn her. She, however, lives for art alone, until 
the appearance of Hilarion, a poet who makes the whole world 
shed tears over his poems, and who ridicules everything ; he 
is a millionaire, beautiful as a god, and adored everywhere. 
While Marix worships her in secret, Hilarion gains her love 
from sheer caprice. 

The end of the novel was saddening, and yet I would 
accept Gioja's fate without a moment's hesitation. To begin 
with, she adored Rome ; and, further, she loved with her whole 
soul. And if she was abandoned, it was by him; if she 
suffered, it was through him. And I do not see how one can 
be made wretched by anything that comes from him one 
loves .... as she loved, and as I shall be able to love, if I 
ever do love. . . . 

She never knew that he had only taken her out of 
caprice. 

" He loved me," she said, " it is I who have failed to retain 
him." 

She had fame ; her name was repeated with wonder and 
awe. 



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PARIS, 1877. 267 

She never ceased to love him ; as far as she is concerned, 
he has never descended to the level of other men ; she always 
believed him perfect, almost immortal. She would not die 
then, "because he was still living." "How can one kill 
oneself when he whom one loves is not dying ? " she asked. 

And she died in his arms, and while hearing him say, " 1 
love you ! " 

But to love like this one must find Hilarion. The man 
you will love in this way must not be of obscure parentage. 
Hilarion was the son of an Austrian noble and a Greek 
princess. The man that you love in this way ought never 
to want money, ought to succeed in everything, and fear 
nothing in the whole world. 

When Gioja used to kneel down and kiss his feet, I love to 
think that his nails were pink, and that he didn't suffer from 
corns. 

There's the nib ; terrible reality ! Lastly, this man must 
never meet with any obstacles at the entrance to a palace, or 
to a court circle ; nor have anything to prevent him from 
purchasing a piece of sculpture if he wants it, or be vexed at 
not being able to do anything whatsoever, even the silliest 
thing. He must bo above the slights, difficulties, and 
vexations of other people. He may be cowardly in love 
only — but cowardly after Hilarion's fashion, who smiled as 
he Droke a woman's heart, and wept when he saw that she 
stood in need of something. 

And, besides, it is very easy to understand. How 
doex one break heart* ? Either by not loving at all, or 
loving no longer. But is it voluntary ? Has one any 
power in the matter ? No ! Well, then, there is no ground 
ior any of those reproaches which are so absurd and yet so 
commonly made. We blame without taking the trouble to 
understand. 

Such a man, when travelling, should always find a palace 
to rest in when he wishes to stop ; a yacht to convey him 
wherever his caprice takes him ; jewels to adorn a woman ; 
servants, horses, even flute-players, que diable ! 

But this is a romance ! Just so ; but then this love is also 
an invention. You will tell me that men get loved who earn 
£50 a year, or whose income Is £1,000, who have to be 
economical about gloves, and to count the number of invita- 
tions they can afford to send ; but that isn't the same thing at 
all, not at all ! 

Or again ; we begin to feel an inclination, we love, we 
despair, we kill ourselves with charcoal, or our rival, or the 



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268 MARIE BASHKTRTSEFF. 

traitor himself ; or we become resigned to it aiL But that's 
not it at all — not at all ! ' Oh ! not by any means ! 

Susceptible as I am, the slightest thing vexes me. 

" Manx and Crispin had sworn to kill him, but she 
could not understand the wish for revenge. 

" ' Revenge for what ? ' she said ; ' there's nothing to be 
revenged for. I have been happy ; he has loved me/ 

" And when Marix threw himself at her feet, and swore to 
be her Mend and avenger, she turned away from him with 
horror and disgust. 

" ' To be my friend ! ' she said, ' and yet wish to injure 
him!'" 

I can quite understand that one may hate, even to the 
death, a man one has loved, but not him one loves. 

I shall never love like float, if 1 find only what I 
have already seea I should be too much disgraced through 
hvm. 

Just think of it ! to live on the second floor . with his 
relatives; and I bet (according to what we heard from 
Visconti) that his mother only gives him clean sheets twice 
a month. 

But let me rather refer you to Balzac for these microscopic 
analyses, for my weak attempts and wretched efforts fail to 
convey what I mean. 

Thursday, August 23rd. — I am at Schlangenbad. How 
did I get here, and why ? This is the reason — it is because I 
am vexed, though I don't know why, at being separated from 
the rest; and since we must suffer, it is better to suffer 
together. 

They live in a sort of boarding-house at Schlangenbad ; 
but as 1 have more than enough of the baroness's boarding- 
house, I state that I prefer rooms at the Badehaus, which is 
the best thing to be got here. 

My aunt and I take two rooms at the Badehaus for my 
baths, which is a convenient arrangement 

Fauvel has prescribed rest Well, I get it here. Still, I 
do not think that I am cured yet, and in unpleasant things I 
am never mistaken. 

I shall soon be eighteen years old. It is little to persons 
of thirty-five, but it is a good deal to me, who in a few 
months of life as a young lady have had but little pleasure 
and plenty of annoyances. 

Art ! If I had not these three magic letters in the distance, 
I should be dead. 



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80HLANQENBAD, 1877. 269 

But for Art one needs nobody; we depend solely on ourselves. 
And if we succumb, it shows that we are of no account, and 
should not live any longer. Art ! I picture it to myself as a 
great light yonder, very far off; and, forgetting everything 
else, I will walk with my eyes fixed on that light .... 
Now, O God, do not terrify me ! something horrible tells 
me that . . . Ah ! no ; 1 will not write it down. I do 
not want to distress myself! ... an effort must be made; 
and if . . . There will be nothing to tell . . . and . . . God's 
will be done ! 

I was at Schlangenbad two years ago. What a difference 
there is ! Then I had every hope ; now I have none. Uncle 
fitienne is with us now, as he was then, and his parrot too — 
exactly the same as two years ago. The same journey along 
the Rhine, the same vines, the same ruins, castles, and old 
towers with legends to them .... 

And here, at Schlangenbad, there are charming balconies, 
like nests of verdure ; but neither the ruins nor the pretty 
little modern houses delight me. I recognise merit cnarm, 
and beauty, wherever it is to be found ; but I can love nothing 
save the South. 

And what in the world can be compared with it ? I don't 
know how to express it, but poets have asserted it, and 
scholars have proved it, before my time. 

Thanks to the habit of carrying " a heap of useless things " 
with me, I can make myself rairly at home anywhere in an 
hour's time with my travelling-case, writing paper, and mando- 
line, a few good big books, my foot-bag, and my portraits. That 
is all. But with these things any inn chamoer can be made 
comfortable. What I like most are my four big red diction- 
aries, my large green Livy, a tiny bante, a middle-sized 
Lamartine, ana my portrait, cabinet size, painted in oils, and 
framed in dark-blue velvet in a Russia leather case. With 
these my bureau looks elegant directly, and the two candles, 
casting their light on these warm tints so pleasant to the eye, 
almost reconcile me to Germany. 

Dina is so good ... so charming ! I should so much like 
to see her happily settled ! . . . 

There's an expression ! what a wretched farce the life of 
some persons is ! 

Monday, August 27th.— I have added a clause to my 
evening prayer ; live words, " Protect our armies, God ! " 
I might well say that I am anxious ; but where such vast 



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270 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

interests are at stake, what am 1 that I should have any- 
thing to say in the matter? I hate idle compassion. I 
would only speak about our war if I could be of some service. 
I content myself by adhering under any circumstances to my 
admiration of our Imperial family, our Grand Dukes, and our 
poor dear Emperor. 

Things are said to go badly with us. I should like 
to see the Prussians In this parched savage coimtry filled 
with traitors and pitfalls ! The march of those excellent 
Prussians lay through rich fertile France, where at 
every step they found towns and fields, where they had plenty 
to eat, to drink, and to "steal. I should like to see them in 
the Balkans ! 

We must also take into account that we really fight, 
whereas they have in general purchased men and then 
butchered them. 

Our gallant soldiers die like trained beasts, say prejudiced 
people — like heroes, say those who are just 

But all the world agrees in saying that there never yet 
was seen any fighting like that of the Russians at present. 
History will telL 

Wednesday, August 29th. — Having been vexed for a con- 
siderable time with the point — to me an obscure one — respect- 
ing the transition of Italy from Empire to Kingdom, and on 
to its final dismemberment, I took one of Ain&d£e Thierry's 
books, and went with it into the wood, where I read, 
searched out, and learnt what 1 wished to know, wandering 
about the while, not knowing what direction I was taking, 
and vainly imagining encounters like that which I described 
last year. 

The Russians go from bad to worse. We were reading 
the news of the war; the Shipka Pass is still in the hands 
of the Russians; to-morrow we shall know the result of 
the decisive action. 1 therefore made a vow not to say 
a word until to-morrow, in order that our side may be 
victorious. 

I am eighteen years of age ; it is absurd ! My unused 
talents, my hopes, my whims, and my caprices, are becoming 
ridiculous at eighteen. Fancy beginning to learn painting at 
eighteen, when one has claimed to do everything earlier and 
even better than others ! 

There are some who deceive others, but 1 have deceived 
myself. 



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SCHLANGENBAD, 1877. 271 

Thursday, August 30th. — I did not speak, and this even- 
ing at Wiesbaden we heard that the Russians hold Shipka, 
that the Turks are beaten (at least, for the present), and 
that we have received great reinforcements. 

Saturday, September 1st. — I am very much alone, think- 
ing and reading without any one to direct me. It is perhaps 
good for me, and perhaps not. 

Who will guarantee that I am not crammed with sophisms 
and erroneous notions? This must be decided after my 
death. 

Forgiveness, forgive ! There's a substantive and a verb, 
much used in this world. Christianity bids us forgive. 

What is forgiveness ? 

It is a renouncing of vengeance or punishment But 
when we neither intended to take vengeance, nor to punish, 
can we forgive ? Yes, and No. 

Yes, because we say it to ourselves and to others, and we 
act as if the offence had never existed. 

No, because we are not masters of our memories ; and so 
long as we remember, we have not forgiven. 

1 have spent the whole day in the house opposite with 
my family, where I mended with my own lingers a Russia 
leather slipper for Dina ; then I washed a large wooden table, 
like any housemaid, and set to work on it at making 
Var^niki (pastry made with flour, water, and new cheese). 
My people were amused to see me kneading moistened 
flour, with my sleeves tucked up, and a black velvet cap on 
my head " like Faust." 

And then I put on a Robespierre coat of the colour of 
white india-rubber, and went with Dina to astonish the Tyro- 
lese woman who sells a heap of odds and ends by asking her 
for the caput niortuum of M . She did not under- 
stand, so after purchasing a bear from her we took our 
departure. 

Sunday, Septemfwr 2nd. — How can people who are free 
and unconstrained go and spend a day at Wiesbaden ? 

We are going there, however, to see the most ridicu- 
lous people m the world celebrate the defeat of the most 
elegant. 

I was sleepy, and took black coffee at intervals. 

Thursday, September 6th. — To remain at Paris. That is 
what I, and my mother too, have definitely fixed. I have 



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272 MARIE BA8HKIRT8EFF. 

spent the whole day with her. We did not quarrel with one 
another, and everything would have gone nicely if she had 
not been ill, especially in the evening. She has hardly left 
her bed since yesterday. 

/ have decided to remain at Paris, where I will study, 
and from tliere I will go in the summer for recreation to 
the watering-places. All my fancies are over; Russia has 
failed me, and I have been thoroughly chastised. And I 
feel that the moment has at lust come for r me to stop. 
With my capabilities, I can make up for lost time in two 
years. 

So be it, then, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost, and may diinne protection be with me I 
This is no passing decision, like so many others, bat a final 
one. 

Sunday, September 9th. — I cried to-day. The beginning 
of my spoiled life is painful to me. God forbid that 1 should 
try and pass for a misunderstood divinity ; but I am unhappy ! 
Many a time have I wished to believe that I was " condemned 
by fate," and each time 1 have rebelled against that horrible 
thought. . . . 

Nunquam anathematis vinexdis eauenda ! 

There are people who succeed in everything, while with 
others everything goes wrong. And against this truth there 
is nothing to be said ; that is just the dreadful part of it 

For the last three years I could have worked seriously ; 
but at thirteen I was running after the shadow of the Luke 

of H . A sad thing to acknowledge. I don't blame 

myself, because 1 did not consciously waste my time ; I regret 
it, but I do not reproach myself altogether. Circumstances, 
combined with my own free-will, continually hampered though 
it was by my ignorance ; my enthusiasm, whicn I mistook 
for the scepticism acquired by a forty years' experience ; by 
all these I was tossed hither and thither, Heaven Knows how. 

Others, in similar circumstances, might have found sub- 
stantial help, which would have allowed them to work in Rome 
or elsewhere ; or would have made a good marriage. But 
or me, nothing came of it 

I do not regret having lived in my own way ; it would be 
strange if I dia, knowing as I do that advice is of no use to 
me. I believe only in wnat I feel. 

Monday, Septen\ber 10th. — We leave to-morrow morning. 
I like Schlangenbad. The trees are splendid, and the air 



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PARIS, 1877. 273 

is balmy. You can be alone if' you like. I know all the 

Eaths, and all the alleys. You might be happy if you could 
b satisfied with Schlangenbad. 
My mothers do not understand me. In my desire to go to 
Rome, they see only walks on the Pincio, the opera, and 
" painting lessons " ; and if I were to spend my whole life 
in explaining my enthusiasm to them, they would perhaps 
understand it ; but as a useless thing, as one of my fancies . . . 
the petty troubles of everyday life have absorbed them . . . 
and then people say that the love of those things must be 
inborn, otherwise one can never understand, however intel- 
lectual, cultured, and excellent one may otherwise be. But 
is it not rather I who am silly ? 
I should like to be a fatalist 

Paris, Wednesday, September 19th. — I have been reading 

about my affair with A , and I am very much afraid 

people might take me for an idiot, or for a person of rather 
light behaviour. Light ? No ! I come from an honourable 
family . . . What am I saying ? 

I was only silly. Do not think I am calling myself 
silly out of playfulness or coquetry ; I say it with the 
deepest sadness, for I am convinced of my folly. 

And was it I who wished to conquer the world ? .... At 
seventeen I am tired of everything — Heaven knows what 

I am. I only know that I am silly, and A is the proof 

of it 

And yet, when I speak, I am witty — never at the right 
moment, it is true ; but yet . . . 

Thursday, September 20th — Friday, 21st. — I am pro- 
foundly disgusted with myself. T hate everything I have done, 
written, ana said. I detest myself, because I nave fulfilled 
none of my hopes. I have deceived myself ; I am stupid ; I 
have no tact — and have never had any. Show me one 
really clever thing I have said — one wise thing I have done. 
Nothing but folly! I thought I was witty; I am 
absurd. I thought myself brave ; and I am timid. I thought 
I had talent ; and I don't know what 1 have done with it 
And, with all that, the pretension of being able to write 
charmingly. Ah ! my Emperor ! you may possibly take all I 
have been saying for wit ; it looks lite it, but it isn't. 
I am clever enough to judge myself truly, which makes 
me seem modest, and I know not what besides. I hate 
myself 

T 2 



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274 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Saturday, September 22nd. — I don't know how it is, but 
I think I should like to stay in Paris. I believe a year in 
Julian's studio would be good as a beginning. 

Tuesday, October 2nd. — To-day we move to 71, Avenue des 
Champs-Elysees. In spite of all the bustle, I have found time 
to go to Julian's studio — the only good one for women. They 
work there every day from eight till twelve, and from one till 
live. A man was posing nuae when M. Julian took me into 
the studio. 

Wednesday, October 3rd, — Wednesday being a lucky 
day for me, and to-day not being a 4th, which is 
unlucky for me, I did my best to begin as many things as 
possible. 

I sketched a three-quarter view of a head in charcoal at 
Julian's in ten minutes, and he told me that he had not 
expected anything so good from a beginner. I left early, 
as I only wanted to make a start to-day. We went to the 
Bois ; I gathered live oak-leaves and went to Doucet, who 
made me a delicious little blue chaplet in half an hour. But 
what do I really want ? . . . . To be a millionaire ? To re- 
cover my voice ? To get the Prix de Rome under a man's 
name ? To marry Napoleon IV. ? To get into the best 
society ? 

/ want my voice to come back at once. 

Thursday, October Uh. — The day passes quickly when you 
are drawing from eight till twelve, and from one till live. 
Going backwards and forwards takes up nearly an hour and a 
half, and then I was a little late, so that I had only six hours' 
work. 

When I think of the years and years I have lost, I feel 
tempted in my anger to wish it all at the devil. . . . But 
that would be worse still. Come, miserable wretch, be glad to 
have begun at last ! And to think I might have done so at 
thirteen ! Four years ! 

I should have painted historical pictures by now if I had 
begun four years ago. All that I have learned only hinders 
me. I must begin over again. 

I have been obliged to begin the front view of the head 
twice over before it turned out to my satisfaction. As for the 
study from the nude, it came of itself, and M. Julian did not 
correct a single line. He was not there when I arrived ; it was 



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PARIS, 1877. 275 

a pupil who told me how to begin ; I had never seen a study 
from the nude before. 

All I have done till now has been but a sorry jest ! 

At last I am working with artists, real artists, who have 
exhibited at the Salon, and who sell their pictures and por- 
traits — who even give lessons. 

Julian is pleased with the way I have begun. " By the 
end of the winter you will be able to paint some very good 
portraits;" he said to me. 

He says that sometimes his female students are as 
clever as the young men. I should have worked with the 
latter, but they smoke — and, besides, there is no advantage. 
There was when the women had only the draped model; 
but since they make studies from the nude, it is just the 
same. 

The maid at the studio is like those they describe in 
novels. 

" I have always been with artists," she says, " and I am no 
longer b&urgeoise — I am an artist" 

I am, oh ! so happy ! 

Friday, October 5th. — " You have done this by yourself ? " 
asked M. Julian, as he entered the studio. 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

I was as red as if I had been telling a lie. 

" Well, I am very, very pleased ! " 

" Really ? " 

" Very pleased ! " 

And wasn't I ? Then followed a piece of advice. ... I 
am still dazzled by the superiority of the others over me, but 
I am already less afraid. They are women who have been 
working three and four years at studios and at the Louvre, 
and have worked seriously. 

Saturday, October 6th.— I have seen no one, as I have been 
at the studio. 

" Don't be afraid," said Julian ; " you will get on fast 
enough." 

And when mamma called for me at five o'clock in the 
evening, he said something of this sort — 

" I thought it was the whim of a spoilt child ; but I 
must acknowledge that she really works, that she has 
determination, and is gifted. If she goes on in the Fame 
way, in three months her drawings may get into the 
Salon.' 



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276 MARIS BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

Every time he corrects my drawing he asks with some 
distrust if I did it alone. 

I should think so indeed. I have never asked for advice 
of any of the pupils, except how to commence the study 
of the nude. 

I am getting rather used to their ways — their artistic 
ways. 

In the studio all distinctions disappear ; you have neither 
name nor family; you are no longer the daughter of your 
mother; you are yourself; you are an indiviaual with art 
before you — art and nothing else. One feels so happy, so 
free, so proud ! 

At last I am what I wished to be for so long. I wanted 
it so long that I cannot auite realise it 

By-the-bye, do you Know whom I met at the Champs- 
filys^es? 

Why, the Duke of H , alone in a cab. The handsome, 

rather stout, young man, with copper-coloured auburn hair 
and a small moustache, has developed into a rubicund 
Englishman, with small carroty whiskers reaching from the 
ear to the middle of the cheek. 

Four years, however, change a man. Half an hour 
afterwards I thought no more about him. Hie transit gloria 
duels / 

How awfully excited I was ! 

Monday, October 8th. — A new model for the heads — that is 
to say, in the morning (a sort of music-hall singer who sang 
during the rests) — and in the afternoon a young girl for the 
nude. 

They say she is only seventeen ; but I can assure you her 
figure has been rather spoilt They say these creatures lead a 
dreadful life. 

The pose being difficult I find it hard. What makes men 
ashamed of being naked is thai they are afraid of their 
defects. If one felt sure of not having a spot on the skin, or a 
muscle ill made, or a deformed foot, one would go about 
without clothes, and one would not be ashamed. People 
don't realise the truth of this, but it is this and nothmg 
else which makes people ashamed. Who can resist the temp- 
tation of showing something that is really beautiful, and of 
which one may be proud. W r ho, from King Candaules on- 
wards, has ever kept for himself any treasure or any beauty 
without boasting of it? But as easily as one is satisfied 
with one's face, so fastidious is one instinctively for the body. 



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PARIS, 1877. 277 

The sense of shame only disappears before perfection — 
beauty being all-powerfuL And wnen you say anything else 
but "How beautiful ! " it is that the thing isn't really beautiful, 
and there is room for blame and for any kind of opinion. 
That wretch of a model had straight and pretty if somewhat 
fat fingers, and a rather shapeless though regular and not 
over-big foot. 

I said just now that perfect beauty keeps all other ideas 
away, and it is the same with anything else which is perfect. 
The music which lets vou notice the defects in the stage 
appointments is itself faulty. An act of heroism which at 
the time allows of any other feeling but admiration, is not 
as heroic as you could have imagined. 

The thing you see or hear may be great enough in itself 
to fill your soul, and then alone is it all-powerful 

If, on seeing a woman naked, you feel that it is wrong, 
this woman is not the highest expression of beauty, since 
there is room in your mind for an idea other than that which 
should pass to your brain through your eyes. You forget the 
beautiful, to think of the nude. The beauty, therefore, was 
not perfect enough to occupy all your thoughts. And then 
those who display themselves are ashamed, and the onlookers 
are shocked. 

One is ashamed because one knows that others disapprove ; 
but if they did not disapprove, it would be the right thmg, and 
so one would not be asnamed. To sum up, perfection and 
absolute beauty annul blame — or, rather, prevent its occur- 
rence — and suppress shame. 

Tuesday, October 9th. — I have drawn my singer from quite 
near and foreshortened. I have the worst place in the studio 
this week, having come late on Monday. 

" It really isn t bad," Julian said. " I may say I am even 
surprised at your doing it so well It's the most difficult pose 
of all, and how could you do it from so near ? Come, I see that 
you will get on famously." 

This is our way of living: — My people drive out and 
go to the theatre, while I mean to draw till the Naples 
carnival if I don't change my mind, and if nothing new 
happens. 

Wednesday, October lOtL — Don't suppose I am doing 
wonders because M. Julian is surprised. He is surprised 
because he expected to find the whims of a rich young girl 
and a beginner. I need experience, but my work is 



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278 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

correct and like the model As for the execution, it is just 
what may be expected after a week's work. 

All my fellow-students draw better than I do, but none of 
them can get it as like and true in proportion. What makes 
me think I shall do better than they, is that, although I see 
their merit, I should never be content to draw no better than 
they, whereas generally the beginners are continually saying, 
" Oh ! if only I could draw as well as such or such a 
one ! " 

These women of forty have practice, work, and experience ; 
but they will never do more than they are doing at present. 
As for the young ones, they draw well, and have time before 
them, but no future. 

Perhaps I shall never do anything, but it will be 
from impatience. I could kill myselt for not having 
begun four years ago, and it seems to me that it is too 
late. 

We shall see. 

Thursday, October 11th. — It's all very well to say it's 
useless to regret the past, but every minute 1 say to myself, 
" How good it would be if I had begun working three 
years ago. By this time I should be a great artist, and I 
might," &c. &c. 

M. Julian told the studio servant that Schaeppi and I 
were the most promising ones. 

You don't know who Schaeppi is. She is the Swiss girl. 
Goodness, what a dialect ! And M. Julian added that I might 
become a great artist. 

I know it from Rosalia 

It is so cold that I caught cold ; but I forgive that, if I 
can only draw. 

And why draw ? 

To . . . to get all that I have been crying for since the 
world began. To get all that I have wanted, and still want. 
To get on by my talent, or in any way I can, but to get on. 
If I had all that, perhaps I should do nothing. 

Friday, October 12th. — "Do you know, Monsieur," I said 
to Julian, " I am quite disheartened. A lady said to me only 
yesterday that it was of no use for me to work, as I had no 
talent." 

" The lady said that ? " 

" Yes, and in earnest too." 

" Well, you may tell her that if in three months — three 



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PARIS, 1877. 279 

months are not long — if in three months you can't do her 
portrait, full face, three-quarters or profile, just as she likes — 
and not a bad portrait either, I say — like, and not badly done 
.... Well, she will see. I say three months — and if I say it 
aloud, so that all the students may hear, it is because what 
1 prophesy is nothing wonderful, but quite sure to happen." 

Those are his exact words, said with a trace of Marseillais 
accent, which twenty years spent in Paris have not entirely 
effaced, and so much the better. I am so fond of a 
Southern accent. 

Saturday, October VMh. — Saturday is the day for M. Tony 
Robert Fleury tp come to the studio, the painter who did the 
Last Day of Corinth, which was bought by the State, and 
placed in the Luxembourg. 

You know, the best artists in Paris come now and then to 
give us their advice. 

I began last Wednesday, and he could not come on the 
Saturday of the same week, so that for me it is his first visit. 
When he came to my easel and began to pronounce judg- 
ment, I interrupted him — 

"Excuse me, Monsieur ... I only began ten days 
ago." 

" Where did you draw before ? " he asked, looking at my 
drawing. 

" Nowhere." 

" What do you mean by nowhere ? " 

" Well, I took thirty-two lessons in painting to amuse 
myself." 

" That isn't working." 

" I know, Monsieur . . . and ..." 

" You never drew from the life before you came here ? " 

" Never, Monsieur." 

" Impossible ! " 

" I assure you . . ." 

" You have never had advice ? " 

" Oh yes . . . four years ago I took lessons as a little girl ; 
they maae me copy engravings." • 

" That's nothing at all — that's not what I mean." 

And as he still seemed incredulous I had to add — 

" I will give you my word of honour, if you like." 

" Well, then, you show quite extraordinary promise ; you 
are really gifted, and I advise you to work." 

" I have done nothing; else for ten days. Will you look 
&t what I did before this head ? " 



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280 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

" Very welL I will finish with these young ladies and 
then come back." 

" Well," he said, after having visited three or four easels, 
" show me, Mademoiselle." 

"Here, Monsieur," I said, beginning with the head of 
Archangelo; and as I was only going to show him two, he 
said — 

" No, no, show me all you have done." 

I showed the study of the nude male figure un- 
finished, for it was only begun last Thursday; the 
head of the singer seen from below, which he found 
very characteristic ; a foot, a hand, and the nude study 
of Augustine. 

" Did you do that study alone ? " 

" Yes, and I had not only never drawn, but not even seen, 
the nude before." 

He smiled, and did not believe it at all, so that I had 
again to give my word of honour, and he again said, " It is 
marvellous, and gives extraordinary promise for the future. 
This study of the nude is not at all bad, and that part is even 
well done. Work away," &c. &c. . . . 

Then more friendly advice. The other students having 
heard all this became jealous, because not any of them had 
heard anything approaching it concerning themselves, though 
they had been studying one, two, and three years, and 
drew from the life with splendid models, and painted at the 
Louvre. No doubt more is expected of them; but they 
might have got their meed of praise, too, in another 
way. . . . 

It is true, then, and I ... I won't say anything ; it might 
bring me ill-luck . . . but I recommend myself to God. I 
am so afraid ! . . . 

I got a severe snub for it, though indirectly. 

The Spanish g[irl — a good-natured girl on the whole, and 
most obliging, quite inaa about painting, yet with a very in- 
correct eye — speaking of some Dutch woman, said that when 
you first come to a studio you are sure to astonish every one 
by rapid progress ; that this little improvement which is a 
great deal for those who know nothing is easily acquired; 
that it is only when you know sometning that you have 
most to learn. 

Just as if there were not now two or three beginners ! And 
do they improve as much as I do ? 

Let me resume and finish up with my successes. 

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PARIS, 1877. 281 

" Well, Mademoiselle," exclaimed Julian, crossing his arms 
in front of me. 

I was almost afraid, and asked him, blushing all the 
while, what was the matter. 

"But that is splendid; you work on Saturday till the 
evening when every one else stops work ! " 

" Yes, Monsieur ; I have nothing else to do, and I must do 
something." 

" It is admirable. You know that M. Robert Fleury was 
anything but displeased with you ? " 

" Yes, he told me so." 

" Poor Robert Fleury ! he is still ailing." 

And the master, sitting down in the midst of us, began to 
chat . . . which he seldom does, so we know how to value 
such a favour. 

After his visit poor Robert Fleury had chatted with our 
good Julian. Now I wanted to hear something more, ex- 
pecting only praises of course. 

So I went to the master as he came to correct the drawing 
of an adorable little blonde girl, who was commencing her 
studies in the extra room. 

" Monsieur Julian . . . pray tell me what M. Robert 
Fleury said of me ... I know, I know that I know nothing ; 
but he has been able to judge ... a little, how I am 
beginning, and if ... " 

" If you but knew what he said of you, Mademoiselle, you 
would blush a little." 

"Never mind, Monsieur, I'll try to listen without too 
much . . ." 

" He told me it was done very intelligently, that ..." 

" He would not believe that I had ever drawn before." 

"Oh dear no. And while speaking to me he was still 
rather incredulous, so that I haa to tell him how you had 
done the head of Archangelo that I made you begin again 
. . . you remember ? It was just like that ; like some one who 
knew nothing at all about it" 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

And we laughed. It was such fun ! 

Now that the surprises, astonishments, encouragements, 
incredulities all these delightful things are over, now begins 
the work. 

Madame D dined with ua I was calm, reserved, 

silent, hardly amiable. I have no thought except for drawing, 
at present 

Whilst writing this I stopped, thinking of all the 



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282 MARIE BA8HKTBT8EFR 

work that it will require, the time, the patience, the diffi- 
culties. . . . 

It is not as easy to become a great painter as it is to say 
the words ; besides talent and genius, there is also that relent- 
less mechanical labour . . . And I heard a voice say, " You 
will feel neither the time, nor the difficulties, and you will 
reach the goal unexpectedly ! " And I have a firm belief in 
this voice, which has never deceived me. It has foretold me 
enough misfortunes for it not to lie this time. I have faith 
in it, and I feel that I am right to believe. 

I shall get the Prix de Rome ! 

Monday, 15th October. — These are our models for the 
week : — 

In the morning a girl of eleven for the head, very interest- 
ing, with hair the colour of burnished copper. 

In the afternoon, a certain Percichini for the nude. 

In the evening — for this evening it was the opening of 
the evening classes, from eight to ten — another man, also 
for the undraped model 

M. Julian was quite wonder-struck to see me there. In 
the evening he worked with us. I was very much amused. 
They joked about politics and such matters. 

Events of the day are easily made piquant But as he 
would not give his opinion I played tne Marseillaise for 
him. 

Let me see, how many were we this evening ? 
Myself, the Polish girl, Forchammer, a French girl, 
Amelia (the Spanish girl), an American girl, and the 
master. 

Dina was present It is so interesting, the light falls so 
well on the model, the shadows are so simple. 

Tuesday, October 16th. — M. Robert Fleury came in the 
afternoon and took particular notice of me. 

I remained as usual the whole day at the studio from nine 
till half-past twelve. I cannot yet manage to get there 
precisely at eight. 

At noon I go out, take lunch, and return at twenty 
minutes past one, stay till five in the evening, and come back 
from eight to ten, which makes nine hours a day. 

That does not tire me at all. If more work could be 
done, I should do it There are some people who call this 
working, I call it play, and I say it without boasting. Nine 
hours' work a day is so little, and to think that I shall not be 



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PARIS, 1877. 283 

able to do it every day, because it is so far from the Champs- 
l£lys£es to the Rue Vivienne ; and also because often nobody 
will accompany me in the evening, because I must- return 
home at half-past ten, and before I get asleep it is midnight, 
and the next day I lose an hour. Besides, oy attending the 
class regularly from eight to twelve, and from one to live, I 
shall have eight hours. 

In the winter it will be dark at four ; well, I must 
absolutely go in the evening. 

We have a coup6 always in the morning, and the landau 
for the rest of the day. 

You see I must do in one year the work of three. And as 
I make rapid progress, these three years rolled up into one, 
will equal six years, at least, for a person oi ordinary 
intelligence. 

I speak like the fools who say, " What another would do in 
two years, she will do in six months." Nothing can be more 
untrue. 

It is not a question of speed, otherwise one could do 
anything in time. No doubt, with patience, you can obtain 
certain results. But what I pledge myself to do at the 
end of a year or two the Danish girl will never do at 
all. When I set about rectifying human error, I get con- 
fused and irritated, because I have never time to firiish my 
sentence. 

In short, if I had begun three years ago, I could be content 
with six hours a day ; Dut now I want nine, ten, twelve, in 
fact, as many as I can get. Certainly, even if I had 
commenced three years ago I should do well to work 
as much as possible ; but what is passed is past. . . . 
Enough ! . . . . 

Gordigiani told me he had worked twelve hours a 
day. 

From twenty-four hours take seven for sleep ; two to 
undress, say your prayers, wash your hands at intervals, 
dress, do your hair and so on, two for eating and breathing- 
time, makes eleven hours. 

It is quite true thirteen hours remain. 

Yes, but my coming and going take an hour and a quarter. 

Well, yes, I lose nearly three hours. 

When I work at home, I won't lose them any more. But 
then, if there are people to see, and drives and theatres ! I 
shall try to avoid all tnat, for it only bores me. 

Thursday, October 18th. — My study of the nude pleased 

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284 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Julian so much that he said it was quite " extraordinary and 
'prodigious for a beginner. Just look, if it is not surprising ! 
There is depth in it, and the tone is not bad, and it is really 
well-proportioned for a beginner. " 

All the students stood up, and came to see my drawing ; 
while I stood by, blushing. 

Oh dear, how delighted I am ! 

This evening's study of the nude was f» bad that M. 
Julian advised me to do it again. In tiring to do it too 
well I spoiled it this evening. The day before yesterday it 
was not bad. 

Saturday, October 20th. — Breslau has received many 
compliments from Robert Fleury ; I did not . The nude 
was pretty good, but the head was not. I think with 
terror of the time it will take me to learn to draw really 
well 

It is just fifteen days that I have been working, leaving 
out, of course, the two Sundays. Fifteen days ! 

Breslau has been working for two years at the studio, and 
she is twenty, while I am seventeen ; but Breslau had worked 
a great deal at drawing before she came here. 

But as for me — poor me ! I have been drawing only a 
fortnight. ... 

How well that Breslau does draw ! 

* 

Movday, Octolwr 22vd. — The model was ugly, and every- 
one in the studio refused to draw him. I proposed to go and 
see the Prix de Rome, which were being exhibited at the 
Beaux-Arts. Half of them walked, and Breslau, Mme. 
Simonides, Zilhardt, and I, drove there. 

The exhibition closed yesterday. We walked about on the 
quays, looked at the old lx>oks and engravings, and talked art. 
Then in an oj>en fiacre we went to the Bois. Can't you see 
me doing it ? I would not say anything, it would have 
spoilt their pleasure. They were so charming, so well- 
behaved, and we were just beginning to be at ease with one 
another. 

Indeed, all would have gone well enough if we had not 
met the landau with all my family, which took to follow- 
ing us. 

I made a sign to the coachman not to pass in front of us ; 
they saw me, and I knew it, but did not care to speak to them 
before my artist friends. I had my cap on my head, and I 



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PARIS, 1877. 285 

looked untidy and uncomfortable. Naturally, my people 
were furious, and, more than that, hurt with me. 

I was dreadfully annoyed — in short, it was a tiresome 
thing to happea 

Wednesday, October 241/t. — For the evening we have a 
young woman — rather a good figure. 

M. Robert Fleury came yesterday evening and said I was 
wrong to miss the sitting, as I was one of the best workers. 
In short, M. Julian gave me the message in rather a flattering 
manner. 

It is already very flattering that my absence should even 
have been noticed by a professor like Robert Fleury. 

Yet, when I think I might have been working for four 
years, at the very least ! . . . . and I am always thinking of 
that. 

Saturday, October 21th. — I have received many com- 
pliments, as they say at the studio. 

M. Robert Fleury expressed to me his satisfaction and 
astonishment, telling me that I was making surprising 
progress, and that I was really extraordinarily gifted. 

" Not many could have done so well with so little practice. 
This drawing is very good, you understood, very good, for 
you. I advise you to work, Mademoiselle ; and if you 
work, I assure you that you may be able to do something 
not at all bad." 

" Not at all bad," is the stereotyped expression. 

I believe he said, " There are many who have already 
worked at drawing and would not do as well ; " but I 
am not sure enough of it to put down so flattering a 
sentence. 

I had lost Pincio, and the poor animal not knowing what 
was to become of him, came back to wait for me at the studio, 
whither he is in the habit of accompanying me. Pincio is a 
little Roman wolf-dog, white as snow, with straight ears, and 
eyes and nose as black as ink. 

I hate little curly white dogs. 

Pincio is not at all curly, and he takes the most 
extraordinary attitudes, so graceful, so like a goat among the 
rocks, that I have never yet seen any one who failed to 
admire him. 

He is almost as intelligent as Rosalie is the reverse. Rosalie 
has gone to her sister's wedding ; she went this morning after 
having accompanied me to the studio. 



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286 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

"But, Rosalie," said mamma to her, "you have left 

Mademoiselle alone at the studio." 

" Oh no, Madame ; Pincio was with Mademoiselle." 

I assure you she said it quite seriously ; but, as I am a 

little mad, I lost or forgot my guardian, 

Sunday, October 28th. — Schaeppi has begun my portrait. 

I had never thought such beings existed. It would never 
come into her head that a person whom she likes, who is 
sympathetic to her, could wear false hair and use powder. 

A man who does not always toll the absolute truth is an 
impostor, a liar, a horrible wretch ; she despises him. 

Yesterday, she and Breslau thinking ot my uneasiness (I 
was at lunch), wanted to bring Pincio back to me at once ; 
but the Spanish girl and others began to cry out that they 
were making themselves my servants because I was rich. I 
Questioned her a great deal about what they thought of me at 
the studio. 

" They would like you very much if you had less talent ; " 
and then, " they do nothing but talk of you when you are not 
there." 

It will always be the same, then; shall I never be able 
to pass unnoticed, as others do ? This is flattering, but 
unfortunate. 

The Spaniard is a girl of twenty-tive, who pretends 
to be twenty-two, and who has a passion for painting, 
but no talent At the same time she is amazingly good, 
and obliging towards every one. You would think she 
was paid to wait on every one, and to take care of the 
studio. 

She trembles when Robert Fleury or Julian pays atten- 
tion to one of the students. . . . She is jealous even of me, 
who have hardly commenced, and certainly I do not know 
as much as she does, though 1 have unfortunately some 
talent. 

Saturday, November 3rd. — M. Robert Fleury had already 
corrected every one's work when I arrived. I presented my 
drawings to him, and then hid myself behind or beneath his 
stool as usual Well, I was forced to come out, he said so 
many nice things to me. 

" It no doubt still shows inexperience in the outlines ; but 
it is astonishingly supple and true. That action is indeed 
very good. At present, of course, you are lacking in 
experience ; but you possess everything that cannot be 



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PARIS, 1877. 287 

acquired. Do you understand ? Everything that cannot bt, 
acquired. That which you do not know can be learnt, and 
you will learn it 

" Yes, it is wonderful ; and if only you will work, you'll 
do excellent things ; I will vouch for that." 

" And I too, Monsieur." 

It is two o'clock ; I am rejoicing in my Sunday. From 
time to time I interrupt myself in this historic diary, in order 
to look at an anatomical figure, and some drawings of bare 
muscles which I bought to-day. 

Wednesday, November 7th. — The weather is grey and 
damp ; I live only in the unwholesome air of the studio. 
The city, the Bois, are death to me. 

I don't work enough. 

I am young— -very young I know; but not for what I 
wanted to do. I wanted to be famous at the age I am now, 
and not to need any letters of recommendation. I was 
foolish and wrong to wish it, since I have done nothing more 
than wish it 

I shall succeed when the most charming of the three 
periods of youth is past — that period for which I wanted 
everything. To my thinking there are three periods of 
youth — from sixteen to twenty, from twenty to twenty-five, 
and from twenty-five to ... to what you wilL The other 
youths which people have invented are nothing but consola- 
tions and nonsense. 

At thirty maturity commences. After thirty one may be 
beautiful, young — younger even ; " but it's no longer the same 
tobacco," as Alexandre Lautrec says (the son of the one at 
Wiesbaden). 

Thursday, November 8th. — There is only one thing which 
could tear me away from the studio before it closes, and for 
the whole afternoon, and that is Versailles. As soon as they 
received the tickets they sent Chocolat to me, and I went 
back to change my dresa 

On the staircase I met Julian, who was astonished to see 
me leaving so early. I explained to him, repeating that 
nothing but Versailles could induce me to leave the studio. 
He says it is all the more admirable, as I might so easily go 
and enjoy myself. 

" I enjoy myself only here, Monsieur." 

" And how right you are ! You will see what a pleasure 
it will be to you in two months." 



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288 MAE1E BA8HEJBT8EFF. 

" You know that I mean to be a real artist, and I don't 
draw merely for amusement . . ." 

"I should hope not! It would be treating an ingot of 
gold as if it were copper : it would be a sin. I assure you 
that with the facility you possess, I see it by the surprising 
things you do, well, you don't need more than a year and a 
half to develop a real talent" 

" Oh ! " 

" I repeat — a real talent" 

" Take care, Monsieur, I shall go away enchanted." 

" I speak the truth ; you will see for yourself. By the end 
of this winter you will make really good drawings, then you 
will still continue drawing ; and I give you six months to get 
used to the colours, and then you will show what you 
can do." 

Heavens ! As I drove towards home I laughed and wept 
for joy, and dreamed of people giving me five thousand francs 
for a j>ortrait 

It is terrible for ladies to be alone at a station . . . until 
we are installed in our wretched seats at the tribune. It is 
raining. 

They spoke of nothing but the validations of the elections ; 
but these validations gave rise to some incidents, so that the 
sitting was interesting. 

I must not go often to the Chamber of Deputies, it might 
draw me away from the studio ; you get interested, and you 
go on and on, every day is a fresh page of the same book I 
could become so passionately interested in politics that I 
should lie awake ; but my politics are there, at the Rue 
Vivienne, that is for me the road to get to the Chamber, after 
a very different fashion from the present. A year and a half 
— that's nothing ! 

So much happiness frightens me. 

A year and a half tor portraits; but for pictures . . . 
suppose we say two or three years . . . We shall see. 

I looked pretty ; but towards eight o'clock was very tired, 
which, however, did not prevent me from going to draw for at 
least an hour. 

Satwrday, November 10th. — M. Robert Fleury was unwell 
and tired, and hardly corrected half of our drawings. No 
one received any compliments — nor did I. I was rather 
surprised, as Julian thought that what I had done was 

food. That's true; but within myself I was dissatisfied, 
am annoyed. 



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PARIS, 1877. 289 

Afterwards we made some sketches, one of which, a 
sort of caricature, was a succesa Julian made me sign it 
and put it in his album. 

How much more the unpleasant things strike one than 
the pleasant ones! 

For the last month I have heard nothing but encour- 
aging praise, except once, a fortnight ago : this morning, I 
am found fault with, and I remember nothing but this 
morning, and it is always like that in everything. A thou- 
sand people applaud, one alone hisses, ana is heard above 
the thousand. 

The nude studies of the afternoon and evening have not 
been corrected. Ah ! I am not so much to blame ! you 
remember that I did not like the models and that we only 
began on Tuesday ; Monday there was some confusion on 
account of the models, and besides, I was placed just in 
front of the man, quite close, and below him ; the most 
difficult pose of alL Never mind; it is a bad sign, my 
child, when one has to seek for excuses. 

Tuesday, November 13£/l — The opinion of M. Robert 
Fleury never agrees with that of M. Julian, so that the 
latter often refrains from saying what he thinks. The 
gentlemen down-stairs have Robert Fleury, Boulanger, and 
some one else besides, whereas we have only Robert Fleury 
It is not fair. 

There is to be a competition. First a competition for 
places, so that chance may not sometimes give a bad place 
to the best student, and the reverse to one who would not 
know how to make use of it And then a competition 
which will last a whole week. 

There is to be one every two months, I believe, and 
Breslau advises me very strongly to compete for a place, 
as it will be useful to me m two months' time, if not 
now. 

While waiting for the carriage which is to come at a 
quarter to eight this evening, I am studying my figure 
snowing the muscles. 

Wednesday, November lUk — I have been to the neigh- 
bourhood of the £cole de Medicine, to get various books 
and plaster casta I went to Vasser'a You know Vasser, 
who sells all kinds of anatomical models, skeletons, &c. 
Well, I have some influence there through friends, and 
they spoke of me to M. Mathias Duval, who is professor of 
u 2 



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290 MARIE BA8HKIBT8EFF. 

anatomy at the Beaux-Arts, and to other people and 
some one is to come and give me lessons. 

I am enchanted: the streets were full of students 
coming out from the schools. These narrow streets ! 
these musical instrument makers, and all that kind of 
thing ! Ah, heavens ! how well I understood the magic, if I 
may call it so, of the Quartier Latin! 

I have nothing of the woman about me but the 
envelope, and that envelope is deucedly feminine. As for 
the rest, that's quite another affair. It is not I who say 
this, since it seems to me that all women are like 
myself. 

Speak to me of the Quartier Latin, and welcome. It 
is there that I feel reconciled to Paris: you could imagine 
yourself far away in Italy almost . . . although an Italy 
of a different kind, of course. 

The people in society, otherwise known as bourgeois, 
will never understand me. Indeed, it is not to them that 
I address myself, but to those of our own set. 

Unhappy girls, listen ! 

For instance, my mother is horrified at seeing me in a 
shop where one sees such things. Oh, sucn things 
" Naked peasants ! " Philistine ! when I have painted a 
beautiful picture, they will see only the poetry, tne flower, 
the fruit They never think of the dunghilL 

I see only the end, the goaL And I march straight on 
towards this goaL 

I love to go to the booksellers and other people, who, 
thanks to my unassuming dress, take me for a Breslau 
or some one of that class; they look at you in a certain 
kindly encouraging way, which is quite different from what 
I am accustomed to. 

One morning I went with- Rosalie to the studio in 
a cab. To pay the man I gave him a twenty-franc 
piece. 

"Oh, my poor child, I have no change to give 
you." 

It is such fun! 

Thursday, November 15th. — We have had the compe- 
tition for places, a sketch of a head to be done in an 
hour. 

It will be decided on Saturday ; I am not anxious about 
it, however, for if I am last of all it will be only fair. I 
have been studying a month, the others at least a year 



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PARIS, 1877. 291 

each, roughly speaking, without counting what they have 
done elsewhere than in this studio; they have studied in 
earnest, being artists by profession. It is that rogue of a 
Breslau whom I fear most. She is admirably gifted, and 
not bad-looking; I assure you she will make her way. 
I cannot get it into my head that she has been drawing 
at Julian's about five hundred days, and I only thirty — that 
is to say, with Julian alone she has worked more than 
fifteen times as much as I have. If I am really rifted, in 
six months I shall be able to do as well as sne does. 
Surprising things may happen, but there are no miracles 
in things of tnis sort, and yet a miracle is what I 
want ! 

I am discontented at not being the best at the end of 
one month. 

Friday, November 16th. — I have been to see poor 
Schaeppi at a boarding-house in the Avenue de la Grande 
Arm6e. Quite an artistic garret, and so clean that there is 
a look almost of wealth about it 

Breslau and several other budding artists live there. 

Sketches, studies, and a lot of interesting things about 
the room. This contact with artistic things, this atmo- 
sphere alone does me good 

I can't forgive myself for not knowing as much as Breslau. 
.... The fact is ... . I have never gone deeply into 
anything in life, though I know a little of everything ; and I 
am afraid it will be the same in this ; and yet, no ; from the 
way I am working, it must turn out welL It does not follow 
because you have never done a thing that you will never be 
able to cfo it. At each beginning I doubt arresh. 

Saturday, November VI th. — M. Robert Fleury was not 
satisfied with the likeness. Now as I catch likenesses well, 
as a rule, and as you don't lose the qualities you already 
possess, this doesn't trouble me much. I shall begin 
again. 

The competition was decided. There were eighteen 
competitors. I am thirteenth ; so there are five below me ; 
that s not so bad. The Polish girl first ; quite unfair ! 

I was complimented on my studies from the nude. 

I bought different kinds of anatomical models and 
skeletons, and all night I dreamt that they were bringing 
me subjects to dissect 

What would you have ? I am worn out ; -my hands are 



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292 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

no longer capable of anything but drawing and playing on the 
harp. And yet it is ... . absurd that Breslau snould draw 
better than I do. 

My sketch was the most forward. 

"All this in an hour," cried M. Robert Fleury. "She 
works like one possessed." 

And I must tell you that M. Julian and the others said 
at the men's studio that I had neither the touch, nor the 
manner, nor the capabilities of a woman ; and that they 
would like to know if there is any one in my family from 
whom I have inherited so much talent and vigour, nay even 
brutality, in drawing, and so much perseverance in my work. 

Still, is it not absurd that I cannot yet make a composi- 
tion ? 

I do not know how to balance my figures. 1 have 
tried to draw a scene in the studio. Well, it does not 
compose. It doesn't look like anything. It is true I did 
it entirely out of my head, from imagination, and I never 
troubled myself to notice how my people walked. No .... 
it is frightful ! 

Sunday, November 18th. — In the evening I made a sketch 
of my washhand-stand — or, rather, of Rosalie standing before 
it ; tne sketch holds together, and has a look of reality about 
it ; the arrangement pleases me ; when I draw better, Til do it 
again — perhaps in oila A washhand-stand and a lady's- 
maid have never been done without a Cupid, a flower, a 
broken vase, a feather-broom, &c. &c, or something of the 
kind. 

Friday, November 23rd. — That creature Breslau has done 
a composition — Monday Morning, or the Choice of a Model. 
The whole studio is there, and Julian is next to me and 
Amelia, &c. &c. It is done correctly, the perspective good, 
the likenesses, everything is thera When you are capable of 
doing a thing like that, you are certain to become a great 
artist. 

You can guess, can't you ? I am jealous. That is a good 
thing, because it is an incentive. 

But I have been drawing these six weeks. Breslau will 
always be ahead of me, having commenced before I did. 
Now in two or three months I shall be able to draw as 
she does — that is to say, really well. I am pleased, besides, 
to find a rival worthy of me ; the others would have sent me 
to sleep. 



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PARIS, 1877. 293 

Ah ! It is terrible, to want to draw like a master after six 
weeks' work 

Grandpapa is ill, and Dina is at her post, full of devotion 
and care. She has grown much better-looking, and is so 
good ! If Providence does not send her a little happiness — 
sajyristi ! — I shall give le bon Dieu the benefit of my 
opinion. 

Saturday, November 24>th. — This evening at the studio 
there were present only Amelia, I, and Julian, the servant and 
Rosalie. 

M. Julian sent for the competition drawings of the male 
students, our own, and also the caricatures of the male 
students, to show us. 

We began to look at and judge our drawings, in anticipa- 
tion of the real decision, which will take place on Tuesday, 
and will be given by MM. Robert Fleury, Lefebvre, and 
Boulanger. 

There will be a contest between Breslau and a French 
girl (who has been four years in the studio, always does 
profiles, has no spark of genius, but draws perfectly), and 
also another girl. Amelia, the Polish girl, and that stout 
Jenny send in paintings. When he came to my head, 
Julian said something of this kind: — 

"You may possibly not have a good place because you 
are in competition with girls who have been three or four 
years in the studio, and who are really advanced, but your 
head is certainly one of the best as a likeness. If our work 
is phenomenal ! Show it to any great master you like, and 
ask him how long it takes to be able to draw like 
this from Nature; and no one — no one, I tell you — will 
say less than a year. Of course, however, it is very 
imperfect" 

And he save me a lesson by comparing my drawing 
with that of the French girl. 

" And in your studies from the nude there is a great 
deal wanting, but there is no evident fault in drawing. 
If you were to tell any one that after a month or six 
weeks' work, you made your figures stand and balance like 
this — drawn from life, too — they would say you were making 
fun of them." 

" And yet, Monsieur, I am not satisfied with myself." 
And when I said it, I assure you I meant it 

" Not satisfied ? " 

" No ; I still hope to do a little better . . ." 



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294 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

" If you continue like this, you will do wonders. What 
you do already is, as I have told you, phenomenal" 

He never speaks so when many are present ; it would 
cause a revolution. 

Yes, no doubt I shall have a bad place. Those brutes 
do not know how short a time I have been drawing, and, 
not seeing the model, they will not be able to judge of 
the likeness. 

I needed a little encouragement, because this morning, 
I assure you, I felt very down-hearted. 

Monday, November 26th. — At last I have taken my 
first lesson in anatomy — from four to half-past, just after 
my drawing. 

M. Cuyer teaches me. He was sent by Mathias Duval, 
who has promised to show me the iScole des Beaux- 
Arts. I began with the bones, of course, and one of the 
drawers of my writing-table is full of vertebrae . . . real 
ones. It is horrible, when you think that the other two 
contain scented paper and visiting-cards from Naples, &c. 

On returning from the studio, I found M. Cuyer waiting 
in the twilight of the drawing-room, and on the sofa opposite 
I found mamma and Marcuard, most pompous of commanders, 
who had returned for ten days, and wno kissed my hand 
covered with charcoal, and . . . which had been in contact 
with vertebrae, for I had stolen away from the drawing-room 
to take my lesson. 

Tuesday, November 27th. — M. Julian came up to us, a 
little disconcerted, after the decision of MM. Robert Fleury, 
Boulanger, and Lefebvre. I give you his speech as nearly as 
I can : — 

"Ladies, the examiners have only riven places to six 
heads after the one which gained the medal, awarded, as you 
already know, to Mile. Delsarte (the French girl). The 
others have been simply classified for places at the next com- 
petition ; the three last are to draw lots." In order, no doubt, 
to spare the feelings of the ladies. 

A voice said to me that I should be one of those to 
draw lots ; it would have been quite natural, and yet I felt 
vexed. 

After the little speech, which made a considerable im- 
pression on every one, he continued — 

" I cannot tell to whom these heads belong. Will one of 



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PARIS, 1877. 295 

you ladies kindly write the names as I go on ? Who is the 
first?" 

"Mile. Wick" 

"Second?" 

"Mile. Bang." 

"Third?" 

" Mile. Breslau." 

" Fourth ? " 

" Mile. Nordtlander." 

"Fifth?" 

"Mile. Forchammer." 

"Sixth?" 

" Why, it's Mile. Marie ! " exclaimed the Polish girL 

" I, Monsieur ? " 

"Yes, Mademoiselle." 

" But it's absurd ! " 

I am among the first six ; Amelia, Zilhardt, and the Polish 
girl come after me. I was the last to come to the studio, 
seeing that I have been there only since the 3rd of October. 
Saprtsti ! 

They all came up to congratulate me. Mile. Delsarte said 
all sorts of flattering things, and her sister Marie called us the 
two heroines of the competition. 

" What you have done after so short a time is better than 
a medal at the end of four years' study." 

A success, and what a charming one ! 

Friday, November 30th. — At last I took my mandoline 
to the studio, and every one was delighted with the charm- 
ing instrument — the more so as to those who have never 
heard it before I seem to play welL In the evening, 
during the interval of rest, I was playing, and Amelia 
accompanying me on the piano, when in came the master, 
who stopped to listen. 

If only you could have seen how delighted he was ! 

" And I, who always thought of the mandoline as a sort 
of guitar, on which people scraped — I had no idea it could 
sing ; indeed, I could not have imagined such sweet sounds 
could be drawn from it ; and how graceful it looks ! Ah ! 
I shall never speak against it any more. You would hardly 
believe what a delighrul moment I spent. Ah ! it is beau- 
tiful. You may laugh if you like, but I assure you it . . . 
scrapes somethmg in the neart 'Tis strange ! " 

Ah ! poor wretch, you feel it then ! 

This same mandoline met with no success at all one 



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296 MARIE BASHKIBTSEFF. 

evening when I played it at home, before a party of grand 
people, ladies and gentlemen; and yet they were just the 
persons who should pay compliments, whether they are 
pleased or not 

The brilliant lights, the white shirt-fronts, and powder, 
sufficed to destroy the charm. Whereas the enclosed 
space of the studio, the quietude of the evening, the 
clark staircase, the fatigue — everything tends to make you 
impressionable to whatever there is m this world that is 
sweet, or ... . strange, or pleasant, or charming. 

Mine is a terrible profession. Eight hours' work a day, 
besides the going to and fro, and, above all, the work which 
needs so much conscientiousness and intellectual effort. 
There is nothing so silly as to draw without thinking of 
what one is domg, without comparing, remembering, and 
studying; but to draw in that way would not be tiring 
at all 

When the days grow longer, I shall work still more, so that 
I may be ready when I go back to Italy. 

I will succeed. 

Wednesday, December 5th. — It has been dark all day, so 
that we could not draw, and I went to the Louvre with a 
Finnish girl ; and as she looked like an English governess, 
I walkea there, delighted with the chic of my sealskin 
cap, and mantle reaching to the ground. 

It is really instructive to look at beautiful things with 
some one who knows about them. 

Saturday, December 8th. — I went to the theatre ; it was 
very funny, people laughed all the time; lost time that I 
regret. 

I worked badly this week. 

There would be many goings-on in the studio to tell 
about, but I take my studio work seriously, and I do not 
trouble myself about anything else ; it would be beneath me. 
I regret that evening. I was not seen, and I did no work. 
It is true I laughed ; but this inward satisfaction is of no 
use to me ; therefore it is disagreeable, since it gave me no 
pleasure. 

Sunday, December 9th. — Dr. Charcot has just left ; I was 
present at the consultation, and heard afterwards what the 
aoctors said to each other, because I am the only person who 
keeps calm and collected, and I am looked upon as a third 



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PARIS, 1877. 297 

physician. At all events, they do not expect any cata- 
strophe for the present. 

Poor grandpapa ! I should have been so grieved if he 
had died just now, because we have often quarrelled ; but as 
his illness will be of some duration, I have time to atone for 
my hastiness. I remained in his room when he was at 
the worst. ... To tell the truth, my appearance at the 
bedside of a sick person is always a sign of its being a serious 
case, for I hate assiduous attentions that are not needed, 
and I never show anxiety unless I allow myself to do so. 
You see that I never miss any opportunity of praising 
myself. 

I saw the new moon with my left eye ; that disturbs me. 

Pray don't fancy that I was rough with grandpapa ; I only 
treated him as an equal But as he is ill — very ill — I 
regret it, and wish I had endured everything without saying 
a word. 

We never leave him, for as soon as any one goes away, he 
asks for him to come back. George is with him. Dina is 
always at his bedside ; that goes without saying. Mamma is 
ill with anxiety. Walitzky — dear Walitzky ! — runs hither 
and thither, attending on the patient, grumbling and consoling 
at the same time. 

I said that I should wish to bear everything without 
saying a word ; I seem like an unhappy ill-treated creature ; 
there was nothing to endure, but I was irritated and irritable, 
and grandpapa oeing just in the same mood, I lost my 
patience and answered rather sharply, and sometimes I was 
wrong. I don't want to pose as an angel disguised under a 
cloak of wickedness. 

Tuesday, December 11th. — Grandpapa has lost the power 
of speech. ... It is terrible to see this man — who so 
recently was still strong, energetic, and young — to see him 
look like this .... almost a corpse. . . . 

I continue to draw from the bones. I am more than ever 
with Breslau, Schaeppi, &c. ; the Swiss set, in fact. 

Wednesday, December 12th. — At one o'clock the priest 
and the deacon came and administered extreme unction to 
grandpapa Mamma was crying, and praying aloud ; after- 
wards .... I went to lunch. Such are the animal needs 
which do and must exist in every one of us. 

Saturday, December 15th. — As was expected, Breslau had 

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298 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

an immense success. She draws so well As for me, they 
found some very good points in my head, and some not at all 
bad ones in my study from the nude. I am .... I don't 
know what Breslau has been drawing these three years, and 
I only two months. Never mind ; it is shamefuL Oh ! if I 
had commenced three years ago — only three years ; it is not 
so very much — I shoula be known by now. 

There is a comedy going on in the studio. A subscription 
had been organised to offer M. Robert Fleury and M. Julian 
a photograph of all the pupils of the studio. Just at this 
time the Spanish girl, forgetting herself through her over- 
anxiety to be the head of the studio, was rude to Breslau, 
who answered sharply, and the students divided into two 
camps. 

The Swiss girls, five in number, one for all, all for 
one ! They no longer speak to the Spanish girl. The 
descendants of William Tell refused to subscribe, and got 
quite angry. I called them together in the ante-room, and 
made a speech to show them the folly of their conduct in 
acting thua They were offering an affront to the master, 
at the same time that they delighted the Spanish girl by 
making her seem of so much importance. 

So they re-considered their decision. Then, in order 
the better to prove to the Spanish girl that I absolutely 
refused to recognise her as my superior, I offered to break 
open the money-box this morning at nine o'clock. The 
terrible Spanish girl had not yet arrived. They seconded 
the proposal, and proceeded to execute it, and I counted 
out a nundred and seven francs and one sou. Upon 
which I went to announce the result in the room of caste. 

" Is Mile. A there ? " I was asked by a kind of 

apple-woman, who has her daughter taught drawing. 

"No, Madame." 

" How strange ! I thought it was she who had 

" All the pupils contributed, Madame ; therefore all 
the pupils wished to know the result, and it was in their 
presence that the money-box was opened. Good morning, 
Madame." 

The Spanish girl came. She said nothing, but I can 
boast of naving another enemy. I can also boast that I 
don't care a fig about it. 

Saturday, December 22?wf. — Robert Fleury said to me: 
"You must never be satisfied with yourself" 



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PARIS, 1877. 299 

So did Julian. Now, as I never have been satisfied 
with myself, I began to ponder on what they had said. 
And after Robert Fleury had been saying many kind 
things to me, I replied that he was quite right to do so, 
for I was thoroughly dissatisfied with myself, discouraged, 
and in despair, which made him open his eyes with 
surprise. 

And in truth I was discouraged. The moment my 
work does not strike people with astonishment I get dis- 
couraged. It is very unfortunate. 

As a matter of fact, I have made unheard-of progress ; 
I am constantly told that I show " extraordinary promise," 
that I get the likeness, that the " ensemble is good/ and " in 
drawing." " What more do you want, Mademoiselle ? " 
"Be reasonable," he said, in conclusion. 

He stood a very long time before my easeL 

" When one draws like this," he said, pointing first to the 
head, and then to the shoulders, "one has no business to 
draw shoulders like that" 

The Swiss girls and I, all in disguise, went to Bonnat, to 
ask him to take us into his studio for male students. Of 
course, he explained to us that these fifty young men being 
under no supervision it was absolutely impossible. Then we 
went to Munk&csy (I don't know if I spell his name correctly), 
a Hungarian painter, who has a splendid house, and great 
talent 

He knows the Swiss girls, who had a letter of recommen- 
dation to him a twelvemonth ago. 

Saturday, December 29th. — M. Robert Fleury was much 
pleased with me. He stood at least half an hour before a 
pair of feet that I had done lifesize, and asked me again if I 
nad never before painted, and if I meant to take up paint- 
ing seriously. How long should I be able to remain in raris ? 

He wished to see my first attempts in oils, asking me how 
I had succeeded. I answered that I had painted only for 
amusement As he remained a long time by me, every one 
came behind him to listen ; and in the midst of what I may 
call general stupefaction, he declared that I might paint if I 
were so inclined. 

To that I replied that I was not dying to begin, and that I 
preferred to perfect myself in drawing. 

Sunday, December 30th, and Monday, December Slat. — I 
feel dull ; we are not keeping up the holidays, and that makes 



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300 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

me feel dulL I went to see the Christmas-tree at the house 
of the Swiss girls; it was bright and pleasant, but I was sleepy, 
having worked till ten at night. We had our fortunes told. 
Breslau will win prizes, I am to get the Prix de Rome, and 
the others will fau. 

It is strange, all the same. 



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30t 



CHAPTER VI. 

PARIS : ARTISTIC LIFE— 1878. 



Friday, January bth. — How strange that the old self 
should sleep so profoundly ! Hardly anything of it remains ; 
now and then a reminiscence which awakens past bitterness, 
but then immediately I think of ... . what ? Of Art ? It 
makes me laugh. 

Is this the last stage of the creature ? I have sought so 
long and so cruelly for this end or means of existing without 
cursing myself, or cursing the rest of creation all day long, 
that I can hardly believe 1 have found it 

With my black blouse on I have a look of Marie Antoinette 
in the Temple. 

I am beginning to become what I wished to be. Sure of 
myself, outwardly calm, I avoid annoyances and petty worries. 
I do few things that are useless. 

In short, 1 perfect myself little by little. Let us under- 
stand what I mean by the word perfection — perfection as it 
applies to me. 

Oh, time ! It is necessary for everything. Time is more 
terrible, more irritating, more crushing than ever when it is 
the only obstacle. 

Whatever may happen to me, I am more prepared for 
it than formerly when it made me furious to be obliged to 
own that I was not perfectly happy. 

Sunday, January 6th. — Well ! I am of your opinion ; time 
passes, and it would be a hundred times more amusing to 
spend it as I wanted to before; but as that is impossible, 
let us wait for the results of my talent ; it will still be not too 
late. . . . 

We have removed; we live now at No. 67, Avenue de 
TAlma. From my windows I can see the carriages passing in 
the Champs-lSlysees. I have a drawing-room and studio in 
one to myself Grandpapa had to be carried ; it was so sad to 
see ! ... . As soon as ne was brought into his room, Dina 
and I came to his side and waited upon him, and poor grand- 
papa kissed our hands. 

My bed-room reminds me of Naples. ... A glass was 
broken in grandpapa's room. 



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302 MABIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

Yes, iny room reminds me of Naples. The time for the 
journey is approaching, and I feel, as it were, the soft fiimes 
of my former idleness stealing over me. ... In vain ! . . . . 

Monday, Januom/lth. — To believe, or not to believe, in 
my artistic future ? Two years are not my whole life, and 
after two years one can begin again a leisurely existence, 

5;oing to theatres, travelling, &c. . . . I want to become 
anious. 
I will be. 

Saturday, January 12th. — Walitzky died at two o'clock 
this morning. 

Last night, when I went to see him, he said to me, half 
in fun and half sadly, "Addio, Signorina" to remind me of 
Italy. Perhaps it was for the first time in my life that I 
shed tears free from selfishness and anger. 

There is something particularly distressing in the death of 
any one so absolutely inoffensive and absolutely good. He 
was like a poor dog who had never done harm to any 
one. 

Towards one o'clock he had felt better, and so the ladies 
went back to their rooms. My aunt alone remained with him 
when he gasped for breath, so that she had to throw water in 
his face. 

Coming to himself a little, he rose, as he was absolutely 
bent on bidding adieu to grandpapa ; but when he reached 
the corridor, he had only time to cross himself thrice, and to 
call out in Russian ..." Adieu ! " in so loud a voice, however, 
that mamma and Dina woke up and ran to him, only to see 
him fall into the arms of my aunt and of Tryphon. 

I cannot realise it ; it seems to me impossible ; it is so 
terrible. 

Walitzky dead ! It is an irreparable loss ; one can 
hardly believe that such a character is to be found in real 
life. 

Attached like a dog to all our family, and quite 
platonically. Oh yes ! unselfish to a degree. 

You read of people like that in books. If only he can 
know mv thoughts ! I hope that God may grant him the 

Eower of knowing what we think and say 01 him. Let him 
ear me then, wherever he may be ; and if he has ever 
had to complain of me, he will forgive me for the sake of 
my deep esteem, my sincere friendship, and my heartfelt 
sorrow. 



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PARIS, 1878. 303 

Monday, January 2Sth. — The competition is to be 
decided to-morrow. I am so afraid of getting a bad 
place! .... 

Tuesday, January 29th. — I was so mortally afraid of the 
examination that poor Rosalie had to make superhuman 
efforts to induce me to get up. 

I expected either to obtain the medal, or else to be placed 
only among the very last. 

Neither one thing nor the other. I remained in the same 
place I had two months ago ; consequently it was a failure. 

I went to see Breslau, who is still ill 

Tuesday, February 1 2th. — They misled me as to the time 
when I was to take my place, and then a Spanish girl and two 
others assured me that they had said nothing to me, and that 
it was myself who had made the mistake. This lie, like all 
lies, made me indignant — all the more, because I must 
say it to the credit of humanity, that those whose part I had 
taken at the time of the affair of the Swiss girls did not say a 
single word to support me. 

I say it, that it may be known ; as for me, I have no need 
of protection ; I only protest when I am in the right 

This morning I could not work at all, I could see nothing ; 
and in the afternoon Berthe came, and I gave myself a 
holiday. 

This evening, at the Italian Opera, they played La 
Traviata. Albani, Capoul, and Panaolfini, are great artists, 
but it gave me no pleasure ; yet in the last act I had not 
exactly the wish to die, but the idea that I sliould suffer and 
die just at the moment when all was about to end happily. 

It is a presentiment I have. I was dressed en bibi 
— a very graceful costume when one is slight and of 
good figure. The white bows on the shoulders, the bare 
neck and arms, made me look like an Infanta of 
Velasquez. 

Die ? . . . It would be absurd : and yet it seems to 
me that I am going to die. I cannot live. I am not 
created according to the ordinary pattern. I have too much 
of some things and a lot of things missing, and a character 
not made to last. If I were a goadess, with all the universe 
to serve me, I should find that I was ill served. 

It is impossible to be more capricious, more exact- 
ing, more impatient, than I am. Sometimes, or per- 
haps even always, I have a certain undercurrent of 
v 



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304 MARIS BASEKERTSEFF. 

reason and calm : but I cannot explain my meaning 
exactly. I only tell you that my life cannot last My 
plans, my hopes, my little vanities, fallen to the ground ! 
... I have been deceived in everything ! 

Wednesday, February 13^. — My drawing makes no 

Erogress, and I feel as if some misfortune were about to 
appen to me — as if I had done something wrong, and 
feared the consequences, or else some insult. It seems 
pitiful, but I am afraid in some ways. 

Mamma makes herself quite unhappy, and it is her own 
fault. There is one thing that I beg and pray of her not 
to do — that is, not to arrange my things, not to put my 
rooms in order. Well, whatever I may say, she does it with 
an obstinacy which is almost morbid. And if you knew 
how exasperating it is, and how it increases my impatience 
and my brusque way of speaking, which do not need to be 
made worse tnan they are. 

I believe she is really fond of me, and I am really 
fond of her, too, but we cannot be two minutes together 
without irritating one another to tears. In short, we are 
much worried wnen we are together, but we should be un- 
happy were we separated. 

I mean to give up everything for drawing. I must 
remember this, tor that is life to me. 

So I shall become independent, and then, come what 
may, I am ready. 

Friday, Fefyruary 15th — I shall not go to the opera 
to-morrow. 

I draw as well as usual, but that does not prevent my 
being dissatisfied with myself. I told this to Robert Fleury 
some time ago, and Saturday, when he was correcting our 
studies from the nude, he said — 

"Did you do that?" 

"Yes, Monsieur." 

" You never drew the whole figure before coming here ? " 

" No." 

" I think you complain ? " 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

" Of not getting on fast enough ? " 

" Yes, indeed, Monsieur." 

" Well, if I were in your place, I should be very well 
satisfied." 



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PARIS, 1878. 305 

It was said with a kindly good-humour that was worth 
many compliments. 

Yes, but when shall I be able to paint portraits ? . . . 
In a year .... at least, I hope so. 

Sunday, February 24th. — I shall go to the studio, and 
shall prove that one can succeed, when one has the will, and 
as much baffled, as desperate, and as furious as I am. 

Oh ! how long is the way ! One gets impatient — yes, 
I get impatient; that is natural; but .... at twenty I 
shall not be too old to begin to show my powers, and 
by the time I am twenty I shall know if my hopes are 
justified. 

Saturday, March 2nd. — Robert Fleury was very pleased 
with me this morning. 

Monday, March 4dh. — My dog has been lost since Satur- 
day. I kept hoping he would come back. 

My poor dog, if there were room in my mind for any 
feeling, I should De miserable about him. My poor lost dog ! 

If I were to die owing to everything I want, to everything 
I have not ! 

Now I believe myself a misunderstood being. 

It is the most abominable thing you can think ol your- 
self. 

A hundred thousand pretensions, and all equally unjusti- 
fied. I knock myself against everything, and get bruised. 

Tuesday, March 12th. — When I think of Pincio, who is 
indeed lost, my heart aches. 

I really cared for him, and his loss affects me almost as 
much as Walitzky's death. 

Especially when I think that the animal is in the hands of 
strangers, that he misses me, and that I shall never again 
see his little face, with the extraordinary black eyes and 
nose. . . . That's right ; I am making myself cry now. 

Ah ! sapristi, a thousand .... wnat you will ! I believe 

I would rather see C , or anybody wounded, ill, or ruined, 

than never again see my dog, who loved me so. I feel true 
sorrow for his loss, and I don't care a straw for anything else. 

Wednesday, March 13th. — Julian playfully admired my 
stoicism, and tne Spanish girl said that those who work coldly 
will never do anytning out of the common. As for her, she 
v 2 



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306 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

has so much enthusiasm that she has been working night and 
day for four years ; she can't succeed in putting together a 
head or a study from the nude, though she has a certain 
power of painting solidly. 

If I were a man I should not care to marry her ; all she 
produces is disjointed. 

My uncles, who themselves have no knowledge of friend- 
ship, such as exists between people like C and myself, 

think that he inspires me with a tender interest. It is evident 

that they don't understand ; for to rive one's love to C 

would be to want to make oneself a home .... on the 
bridge of Avignon. 

Saturday, March !6tL — I went to see the exhibition at 
the Mirlitons. I really love my profession, and am always 
glad to convince myself of this afresh. 

Robert Fleury said to me this morning, " For some time 
there has been a certain point beyond which you cannot go ; 
that is bad. With the true gifts you possess, you ought not 
to be stopped by easy things; the less so, that you can 
conquer what is most difficult ' 

Yes, I know it, pardieu. A portrait to do at home, and 
then the domestic worries. But that shall trouble me no 
longer ; I will not let it. C will bring me nothing ; whereas 

Eainting wilL And Monday you will see how I shall leap 
eyond the point of which Robert Fleury spoke. I must, 
above all, be quite convinced that I must succeed, and that I 
will succeed. 

Saturday, March 23rd. — I promised you to get beyond 
the point of which Robert Fleury spoke. 

I kept my word. They were extremely pleased with me. 
They told me ^gain that it was worth while working with 
such genuine abilities, that I had made astonishing progress, 
and that in a month or two . . . 

"You will be among the best of the students; and 
remember," added Robert Fleury, looking at the picture of 
Breslau, who was away, — "remember that I include those 
who are not here to-day." 

" You may expect," said Julian to me in a low voice, " to 
be detested here, for I have never seen any one make such 
progress as you have done in five months." 

" Julian," said Robert Fleury, before everybody, " I have 
just been giving the highest praise to Mademoiselle, who is 
wonderfully gifted." 



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PARIS, 1878. 307 

Julian, in spite of his great size, seemed to float on wings. 
For Robert Fleury is not paid, and only does the correcting 
out of friendship; so that Julian is happy when his pupils 
interest the master. 

Julian came while the study from the nude was being 
corrected (which he never does, as a rule) ; but I have noticed 
that he has been watching mine with interest since Monday. 

In short, with my habitual modesty, I will dwell no longer 
on these flattering occurrences, but only notice an increase 
of fifty per cent, in the jealousy of some, in the jealousy and 
uneasiness of others. 

The others begin to paint almost as soon as they feel 
inclined : but I have placed myself under the especial care oi 
Robert Fleury, who is quite willing ; I do nothing, except by 
his orders. To-day he ordered me to do some studies from 
still-life from time to time, very simple ones, just to get into 
the way of handling the brush. This is already the second 
time he has spoken to me of painting. 

Next week, or the week after, I shall pamt for him, on a 
canvas, No. 8, my skull, nicely arranged with a book, or some- 
thing else. 

Monday, March 25th. — It is the competition to-day. A 
woman who looks a little like Croizette. 

I have a fairly good place, and I think I am in the mood 
for work. And then I don't mean to tire myself by staying 
up late. 

Robert Fleury came this evening; he is certainly very 
pleased with me; he questioned me on anatomy, and, of 
course, I answered without hesitation. 

It is odious to be like me ; but I thank God I am good, 
and not in love with any one. If I were, I should kill myself 
with rage. 

Saturday, March SOth. — I had not foreseen that from my 
place I should have to turn my head each time to look ^t the 
model. This movement is very trying to my nerves, and my 
drawing is as bad as it can be. I am sure I shall be the last, 
and I have told every one so. 

The night classes are over, so I must arrange for some 
work to do at home. 

Thursday, April Uh. — I went to the studio early, and 
was told of the decision, which is absolutely unheard of, 
and upset everybody. 



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308 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Vick has the medal (that's natural enough). Then comes 
Madeleine (the girl who nearly always has the medal), and 
then I. I am so taken by surprise that I am not even 



It was so surprising that Julian went to ask Lefebvre (the 
one who was elected hrst on the jury of the Salon) why he 
had placed us thus. And Lefebvre and the students down- 
stairs said that I had been placed third because they saw I 
had the true feeling for drawing. As for Breslau, it seems 
that her drawing was spoilt by chic. She sat far from the 
model, and so her drawing was somewhat wanting in firmness ; 
but as the professors are prejudiced against women, they took 
that for chw. 

Fortunately for me, Robert Fleury was away. Lefebvre 
and Boulanger were the only judges ; otherwise they would 
have said that it was due to Robert Fleury's influence that I 
was third. 

I don't know what to do with my evenings since the 
evening classes have been closed, and it makes me tired. 

Saturday, April 6th. — Robert Fleury really gives me 
too much encouragement; he thought the second place 
should have been given to me, and he was not in the 
least surprised at my success. 

It was absurd to see the fury of the others. I went 
to the Luxembourg, and then to the Louvre with 
SchaeppL 

To think that M , after leaving us, probably went 

home to dream of my arms and of me, and will think 
that I am thinking of him ! 

Whilst I, undressed and untidy, with my hair tumbling 
down, and my shoes on the ground, was asking myself if 1 
had bewitched him sufficiently; and, not content with ask- 
ing myself, I asked Dina. 

And yet, O folly of youth! two years ago I should 
have thought this was love. Now I am reasonable, and 
understand^ that it is amusing when vou feel that you are 
making some one love you — or, ratner, when you think 
you see some one falling in love with you. The love one 
inspires is a sensation unlike anything else, which one feels 
oneself and which I formerly mistook for love. 

On dear ! oh dear ! and I thought I was in love with 

A , with his rather biff nose, which reminds me of 

M 's. . . . Ugh, horrible ! 

I am so pleasea to justify myself — so pleased ! No, no, 



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PARIS, 1878. 309 

I have never been in love, and ... if you could only 
imagine how happy I feel # — how free, and proud, and 
worthy . . . worthy of him who is yet to come. 

Tuesday, April 9th. — To-day I worked satisfactorily in 
the morning ; in the afternoon I remained in bed, being un- 
well It lasted two hours, after which I got up, almost 
flad to have suffered. It is so nice afterwards; you feel so 
appy to laugh at the jjain. How glorious is youth I 

Twenty years hence it will last a whole day. 

I have finished the Lys clans la Valine; the book is 
very fatiguing, in spite of its many beauties. 

The letter from Nathalie de Manerville, which closes 
the book, is charming and true. 

I read Balzac to my own detriment, for, indeed, the 
same time spent in working would help me to become 
myself a Balzac v in art 

Friday, April 12th. — Yesterday Julian met Robert 
Fleury at the caft, and Robert Fleury said I was a really 
interesting and surprising pupil, and that he hoped much 
from my future. 

It is to that I must anchor myself, especially in those 
moments when all my brain is invaaed by that inexplicable 
and terrible fear, and when I feel myself sinking in an 
abyss of doubt and torments of all kinds, without any cause 
whatever. 

Very often lately there have been three candles at home — 
a sign of a death. 

Am I the person destined to go to the next world ? It 
seems so to me. And my future and my fame ? Oh, well, they 
will be done for. 

If there were any man in the landscape, I should believe 
I was in love again ; I am so terribly restless ; but there is 
none, and besides, I am disgusted. . . . 

And yet there are days when I think you do not lose your 
dignity by following your fancies; on the contrary, you 
assert your pride, and indifference to other people's 
opinion, by not resisting them. Ah! but they are all such 
poor, such unworthy creatures, that I am incapable of giving 
them a moment's thought. Firstly, they all have corns on 
their feet, and I would not forgive that to a king. Imagine 
me dreaming of a man with corns on his feet ! 

I begin to believe I have a true passion for my art, which 



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310 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

reassures and consoles me. I want nothing else, and I am too 
disgusted with everything to think of anything else. 

If it were not for that uneasiness, that fear, I should be 
happy. 

It is quite fine — real spring-time. One feels it as much as 
one ever can in Paris, where even in the most charming of 
woods, under the trees, which seem most mysterious and fiill 
of poetry, one is sure to find a waiter, with his white apron 
turned up, and a glass of beer in his hand. 

I get up at sunrise, and am at the studio before the model 
If only I can free myself from this fear, this accursed super- 
stition ! 

/ remember that in my chUdJtood I had a presentiment 
and fear almost like this. It seemed to me that I shotdd 
never be able to learn anything but French, and that other 
languages could not be learnt. Well, you see, it was not so ; 
and yet I had a reed superstitious fear, just like this one. 

I hope this example will relieve my anxiety. 

I thought that La Recherche de VAbsolu was quite 
different, for I, too, am seeking after the Absolute. Now the 
Absolute in feeling is the Absolute in everything. That is 
what makes me think out and set down a thousand attempts 
to express the truth, at the end of which I succeed to a 
certain extent, but do not hit the mark exactly. 

Saturday, April \Sth. — At twenty- two I shall be either 
famous or dead. 

You think perhaps that one works only with the eyes 
and fingers ? 

You who are bourgeois, you will never know the amount 
of sustained attention, of unceasing comparison, of calcula- 
tion, of feeling, of reflection, necessary to obtain any result 

Yes, yes, I know what you would say .... but you say 
nothing at all, and I swear to you by Pincio's head (that 
seems stupid to you ; it is not to me) — I swear that I will 
become famous; I swear solemnly — by the Gospels, by the 
passion of Christ, by myself — that in four years I will be 
famous. 

Sunday, April \Uh. — Poor grandpapa, he is interested 
in everything, and suffers so much at not being able to 
speak. I guess better than any one what he means ; he was 
so happy this evening; I read the papers to him, and we 
all chatted in his room. 

I felt at the same time grieved, happy, and touched. 



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PARIS, 1878. 311 

And now human language cannot express my anger, 
my rage, my despair 

If I had been drawing ever since I was fifteen, I should 
now be famous ! 

Do you understand ? 

Saturday, April 20th. — Last night, locking up this note- 
book, I opened the sixty-second one ; I read over some pages, 
and chanced on A 's letter. 

It made me dream long, and smile, and then dream 
again. I went to bed late, Dut it was not lost time ; lost 
moments like these don't come at will, but only when we 
are young. We must know how to make use of them, 
appreciate them, and enjoy them, like all God's gifts. The 
young do not know how to appreciate youth rightly; but 
I am like one who is old, who knows what each 
thing is worth, and who wishes to lose no particle of 
enjoyment. 

On account of Robert Fleury I was unable to confess 
before mass, which necessitates my putting off the communion 
till to-morrow. The confession was singular ; here it is — 

" You are not without sin," said the priest, after the usual 
prayer. " Are you not given to idleness ? " 

" Never." 

" To pride ? " 

" Always." 

" Do you keep the fast days ? " 

" Never." 

" Have you offended any one ? " 

" I don t think so, but it may be, perhaps, by trifles, my 
father, but nothing serious." 

" May God forgive you, my daughter," &c. 

I am self-possessed ; I proved it to-night by talking 
without jesting. I am calm, and have absolutely no fear, 
moral or physical . . . Often I say : " I was horribly afraid 
of going to some place, or of doing something." It is an 
exaggeration of speech common to almost everybody, which 
means nothing. What pleases me is that I am getting into 
the habit of speaking to everybody ; it is essential if one 
wishes to have a good salon. Formerly, I used to speak to one 
person only, and take no notice, or hardly any, of the rest. 

Saturday, April 27th — Sunday, April 28th. — I had the 
mad idea of lettmg them ask men to the midnight mass in 
our church. 



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312 MARIE BASHKTRTSEFF. 

On the right stood the ambassador, the Duke of 
Leuchtenbere, and his wife, Madame Akentieffi The duke is 
the son of tne Grand Duchess Marie, who died at Florence, 
and is a nephew of the Emperor. 

The couple were at Rome when I was there, and Madame 
Akenfieff was not received at the Embassy. Now she plays 
the part of Grand Duchess to perfection ; she is still a 
beautiful woman, and very stately, though very thin. Well, 
the husband is still full of delicate attention to his wife ; it 
is admirable and quite charming. 

The Embassy gave an Easter supper, which took place after 
mass, two hours after midnight, in the house of the priest, 
which, being quite near the church, was chosen for the occasion. 

But it was the ambassador who sent out the invitations, 
and who received ; so that we had the good fortune to be at 
the same table with the Grand Duke, his wife, the ambassador, 
and the best Russian society in Paris. 

I was dull, and yet not vexed on the whole, for it will 
send me back to my work with new ardour. 

Why does not Prince Orloff, who is a widower, fall in love 
with and marry me ? I should then be ambassadress in 
Paris, almost empress. Did not M. Anitchkofl', who was am- 
bassador at Teheran, marry a young girl for love when he 
was over fifty-five ? 

I did not produce all the effect I wished. Laferrifcre came 
late, and I was obliged to put on a dress that fitted badly. 
I had to improvise a chemisette ; it was a low-necked dress, 
and had to oe altered. On my dress depended my temper ; 
on my temper, my manner and the expression of my face — 
everything, m fact 

Monday, April 29£A. — At work from eight in the morning 
to six in the evening, from which you must deduct an hour 
and a half for going out to lunch ; tnere is nothing so good as 
regular work. 

To change the subject, I must tell you that I believe I 
shall never be seriously in love. I always discover something 
comical in the man, and then all is over. If he does not 
seem ridiculous, he is awkward, or stupid, or tiresome. In 
short, there is always a something that discovers the ass 
beneath the lion's skin. 

It is true that until I find my master I shall not let 
mvself be caught by any charm. Thank heaven, the mania 
I have of finding out people's faults will prevent my falling in 
love with one and all of tne Adonises on earth ! . , , 

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PA&IS, 1878. 313 

How silly the people are who go to the Bois, and how 
unable I am to understand their empty stupid existence ! 

Friday, May 3rd. — There are moments when one would 
throw up everything — the intellectual whirl, glory, and paint- 
ing—in order to go and live in Italy, to live on sunshine, and 
music, and love. 

Saturday, May Aith. — I love everything simple — in paint- 
ing, in feeling, &c. — everything. My feelings have never been 
simple, and never can be, for simple feelings cannot exist 
where there are doubts and fears founded on previous experi- 
ence. Simple feelings can exist only in complete happiness, 
or in the country, when one is ignorant of all those things 
which .... 

I am essentially of a hair-splitting character, as much 
through an excess of delicate perception as through self- 
esteem, a desire to analyse and to seek for the truth, through 
fear of following a wrong track or of a failure. 

Well, when neart and mind are tormented with all these 
things, you attain only results which show fatigue ; they may 
be violent, but are at the same time subject to strange and 
sudden changes, to ups and downs — in fact, an absolute and 
tormenting want of balance; yet on the whole this is 
preferable to an absolute evenness, which, as every one says, 
is wearisome. This evenness excludes those extremely delicate 
shades which give supreme pleasure to those finely organised, 
hair-splitting natures who require subtlety even in what is 
great — nay, sublime, and without which you can never 
obtain such powerful and many-coloured effects .... 

You would think I knew something about it ; I know only 
that I write down my fancies, and steal my ideas from 
no one. 

Sunday, May 5th. — I have been seven months at the 
studio. 

I went again to the exhibition with Anna Noggren. We 
went through it, only glancing at everything, with the ex- 
ception of the pictures, which were the only things that really 
interested us. 

I was very much surprised at the portrait of Don Carlos, 
which is badly drawn, false in colour, and not like. As for 
the famous portrait of M. Thiers, I had not seen it at the 
Salon, and saw it for the first time to-day ; but I feel sure that 
it has darkened in colour. 



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314 MABIE BA8HKIBTSEFF. 

Carolus Duran I like best of all, for the life in his 
work ; and Bonnat for his skill 
Bonnat's hands are marvellous. 

Tuesday, May 9tk — I might have had a delicious hand if 
my fingers had not been shamefully spoilt by stringed 
instruments, and if I did not bite my nails. But the celestial 
instruments would not matter if I had decent nails. 

My body like that of an antiaue goddess, my Spanish- 
looking hips, my small and perfectly-shaped bosom, my feet, 
my hands, and ray childlike nead — of what use is it all, since 
nobody loves me ? 

Poor Pincio and poor Walitzky ! I thought of them 
to-day. 

Safatrday, May 11th. — Schaeppi, aunt Marie, and I went 
to the exhibition to see the pictures and admire Don Carlos, 
who is the most magnificent and royal of men I have ever 
seen. He surpasses in distinction our Grand Dukes and our 
Emperor. 

Dress him as you like, place him where you will, every one 
will ask, Who is that man ? 

It is impossible to conceal good birth ; and when men of 
birth are ugly, or do not show their breeding, it is, jrou may 
be sure, that there is something shady about their origin. It 
is impossible to be more kingly, more dignified, more natural, 
than Don Carlos. If that man were as intelligent as any one 
else, it would be too much. He is not quite a fool, but ne is 
asleep. 

Sunday, May 12th. — I have painted my first study of still- 
life — a vase of blue porcelain with a bunch of violets, and a 
little shabby red book at the side, on a canvas, No. 3. In this 
way I shaft go on with my drawing, and get used to the 
colours, by working two or three hours on a Sunday. Every 
Sunday I shall do something different 

Yesterday I was rude to my mother. Afterwards I went 
back to my little drawing-room, where it was dark, and, 
kneeling down, I took an oath before God that I would 
never answer my mother sharply again ; and if she provoked 
me, that I would hold nvy peace, or go out of the room. 

She is very ill ; a misfortune soon happens, and I should 
never console myself for having behaved badly towards her. 

Monday , May 13th. — For the afternoon places they drew 

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PARIS, 1878. 315 

lots ; the first fell to me, and as I had not yet come, the next 
girl took my place. 

Then I came in, and Breslau told me that I must be the 
last, having lost my place. Such a thing was never, never 
done before. You left the person in your place, and sat just 
behind her, but were never sent right to the back. Although 
that may be the rule, I made them ask M. Julian about it. 
M. Julian replied that the rule certainly existed, but that it 
had never been enforced, and that he thought it shameful to 
have played me such a trick. I left in a rage," but came back 
to say tnat my absence would give only too much pleasure 
to a lot of stupid jealous girls. 

The Spanish girl came up to try and calm me, because I 
threatened to leave the studio ; the maid also came and said 
consoling things. But I answered them that they need not 
be afraid; I snould certainly work, and that I should be 
very silly to waste my time, as that was just what would 
please the others. It wanted twenty-five minutes to the 
hour. 

" They have succeeded/ 1 said I, " in making me lose an 
hour, from one till two, but I shall employ these twenty-five 
minutes in calming myself, so as to be able to draw well, and 
to enrage those wretched creatures who have recourse to such 
petty tricks out of jealousy." For those twenty-five minutes 
I led them a life! 

Thursday, May I6tk — While I was preparing to paint my 
death's head, having after my usual fashion neralded my 
project with trumpets and drums, Breslau has this week 
painted one. That will teach me not to chatter so much. 
Talking it over with the others, I said that really my ideas 
must oe worth something, since there are people foolish 
enough to take up the worst of my chance suggestions. 

Friday, May 17th. — I could become a communarde, 
just for the pleasure of blowing-up all the houses and 
destroying the nomes. 

One ought to love one's home. There is nothing 
sweeter than to rest there, to dream of the things one has 
done, and the people one has seen . . . But to rest 
eternally! . 

The days from eight till six pass somehow or another 
in working, but the evenings ! 

I mean to model in the evening ... in order not to 
think that I am young, that time is passing, that I am 



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316 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

bored to death, and disgusted, and that everything is 
horrible ! 

How strange it is, though, that some people have no 
luck, either in love or in the business of life, in love, it is 
my own fault. I took wild fancies to some, and forsook 
others . . . But in practical things ! 

I shall now weep, and pray to God to settle this matter 
for me. It is a very original idea to talk to the bo n Diew, 
but it does not make Him any kinder to me. 

Others do not know how to ask. As for me, / have 
faith ; I supplicate . . . 

Doubtless, I have no merit, 

I believe that I am soon to die. 

Tltursday, May 23rd. — I have begun to paint two 
oranges and a knife, at the studio. Since I have broken with 
Breslau, I am polite to the Spanish girl, who is the most 
obliging creature, putting herself out for me, arranging my 
still-life, and giving me advice. 

One does not work as well in spring-time as in winter. 

Saturday, May 25th. — " That is not getting on well enough 
for you," said Robert Fleury. 

1 felt it myself; and if he had not been encouraging about 
my still-life studies, I should have fallen from the height of 
my hopes — and this would have been serioua 

We went to the Fran9ais to see Les Fourchambaidt. 
The piece is very much admired, but I am not in love 
with it 

I had a hat .... but that no longer interests me. What 
I want is to have an air of distinction. I had not been think- 
ing of it much lately. Decidedly I am to be a great artist 
. . . Every time I leave my work I am sent back to it by 
stinging blows of every kind. 

Have I not had visions of political salons, then of the 
world, then of a rich marriage, and again of politics ? 

All that was at the time when I dreamed of, when I hoped 
for, the possibility of some natural, human, feminine arrange- 
ment of my life; but no, nothing. This constant, imper- 
turbable, astounding ill-luck does not even make me laugh 
any more. 

It has given me great coolness, an immense contempt 
for every one, reasoning power, wisdom, and a number of 
qualities which go to make up a character which, while 
being cold, disdainful, and callous, is at the same time active, 



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PARTS, 1878. 317 

brusque, and energetic. As for the sacred fire, it is hidden, 
and the vulgar onlookers, the profane, do not even suspect it 
They think I care not a straw for anything. I am without 
heart ; I criticise, despise, and mock. 

And all the more tender feelings thrown back into my 
inmost self, what do they say of tnis haughty assumption ? 
They say nothing; they murmur, and hide themselves ever 
deeper, both hurt and grieved. 

I pass my life in saying wild things, which please me and 
astonish others. . . . There would be no harm if one did not 
take a bitter tone, if it were not the outcome of this in- 
conceivable ill-luck in everything. 

For instance, when I made my famous request to the bon 
Dieu, the priest gave me the bread and the wine, which 
I took, and then the piece of bread without the wine, accord- 
ing to custom. This bread fell twice from my handa It 
pamed me, but I said nothing, hoping that it did not mean a 
refusal. 

It appears, however, that it did. 

All tnis proves to me that there remains my art, to which 
I must devote my life. ... No doubt I shall again leave it 
for other things by tits and starts, but for a few hours only, 
after which I snail return chastened and wiser. 

Monday, May 27th. — I got to the studio before seven, and 
went with the Swedish girls to have breakfast for three sous 
at a crSmerie. I saw the workmen, the gamins in their 
blouses, come to drink their poor cup of chocolate, just like 
the one I myself had taken. 

" For you, Mademoiselle, to commence painting by still-life 
studies is just as if a strong man were ordered to take exercise 
by handling this " (and Julian raised and lowered his pen- 
holder). "I agree that you should not do the face, but 
paint feet, bits from the life; there is nothing better than 
that" 

He is perfectly right, and I am going to paint a foot 

I luncned at the studio ; they brought me something from 
home, for I calculated that by going home to lunch I lost an 
hour every day, which makes six nours or one day a week, 
four days a month, forty-eight days a year. 

As for the evenings ... I want to do some sculpture ; I 
spoke about it to Julian, who will mention it to Dubois, or 
get it mentioned to him, so that he may feel interested in 
me. 

I had given myself four years ; seven months have already 



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318 MARIS BASHKIRTSEFF. 

passed I think three years will be enough ; that leaves me 
still two years and five months. 

I shall then be between twenty and twenty-one. 

Julian says that in a twelvemonth I shall paint very well ; 
that may be, but not well enough. 

" This way of working is not natural," he said, laughing. 
" You give up society, walks, and drives — everything, in fact 
There must be some purpose, some secret idea beneath 
this." 

He is not a Southerner for nothing. 

To-day something happened almost like my quarrel 
with the Swiss girl, only I played Breslau's part, and an old 
lady mine. 

" Madame," I said, so as to be heard, "lam in my right, 
and I might keep this place if I were in the habit of causing 
annoyance to well-bred people. Take it, Madame ; by the 
rules of courtesy it is yours. Thank God I have been well 
brought up, and have nothing in common with certain 
animals (excuse the term) who do not know how to behave." 
And as the poor old lady would not accept it, I added : " Take 
it, I beg of you, Madame ; I give it no more for your sake than 
to glorify myself. I do this noble deed because I respect 
mysel£" 

That was my vengeance, although it was half chaff. 

Thursday, May 30tk, — Generally their relatives and sur- 
roundings do not believe in the genius of great men .... At 
home they over-estimate my abilities, so that they would not 
be astonisned if I were to paint as great a picture as the Raft 
of the Medusa, and if I were to receive the cross of the Legion 
of Honour. Is it a bad sign ? I hope not 

Friday, May 31s£. — My people went to see &fderie at the 
Ch&telet ; I went with them. When you have seen one, you 
have seen alL I was bored ; and whilst looking mechanically 
at the advertisements on the curtain, I was thinking that my 
life has lost its brightness, is faded, and . . . done for. It is 
a pity to feel such a blank, such desolation around onesel£ 
As a matter of fact ... I understand it now. I fancied that 
I was born to be happy in everything ; now I see that I am 
unhappy in everything ; it is exactly the same thing, only that 
it is just the opposite. From the moment I have known what 
to expect, it is quite bearable, and it grieves me no longer, 
since I am prepared. 

I assure ydu I say what I really think What was 



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PARIS, 1878. 319 

awful, was the constant disillusion. To meet with serpents 
where you expected to find flowers ! 'tis horrible ; but these 
shocks have educated me into indifference. Everything 
goes on around me, I don't even look out of the carriage 
window as I go to the studio. 

I close my eyes, or read the paper. 

You think perhaps that this resignation is desperate. 
.... It is caused by despair, but it is calm and gentle, if 
sad. 

Instead of being rose-colour, everything is grey ; that is 
all. You make up your mind to it, and feel calm. I don't 
know myself any more. It is not a passing mood, but 
that is what I have become. It seems strange to me, but 
it is none the less true. I don't even need money, only 
a couple of black blouses a year ; linen which I could wash 
on Sundays for the week; very simple food, as long as 
there are no onions in it, and it is fresh; and .... the 
possibility of working. 

No carriages to ride in, the omnibus or my feet ; 1 wear 
shoes without heels at the studio. 

Why live then ? Why ? Eh ! parbleu I in the hope of 
better days, and this hope never leaves us. 

Everything is relative. For instance, compared with 
my past anxieties, the present is ease of mind itself. I 
enjoy it as I should an agreeable event In January I 
shall be nineteen. Moussia will be nineteen! It seems 
absurd and impossible. It is fearful 

At times I am seized with a desire to dress, to go out, 
to show myself at the Opera, the Bois, the Salon, the Ex- 
hibition. But then I say to myself directly, What is the 
use? And it all comes to nothing. 

Between every two words I write I think of a million 
things ; I express my thoughts only by fragments. 

What a misfortune for posterity! 

No, it is not a misfortune for posterity, but it prevents 
me from making myself understood. 

I am jealous of Breslau, who does not draw at all like 
a woman. 

Next week I shall work so hard, you will see ! ... . 
My afternoons will be devoted to the exhibition and the 
Salon. 

But the week after next ... I mean to draw well, 
and I will 

Monday, June 3rd, — A sleepless night! Work from 
w 



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320 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

eight in the morning, and going about from two till seven 
in the evening, to the Salon, to look for a house, &c. 

And of what use is this wonderful health of mine ? 
this energy which spends itself and accomplishes nothing ? 

I work ... Oh yes, to be sure ! A miserable seven 
or eight hours a day, which have no more effect on me 
than seven or eight minutes. 

We went to see a beautiful studio. I trembled with 
delight goiijg through it ; for even the sight of a large 
well-lighted studio makes you believe that you will accom- 
plish great things. 

To-morrow I will tell you in earnest my true opinion, 
my inmost thoughts, formed neither by other people nor 
by my surroundings. I will even tell you to-nignt! 

In my heart, my soul, my mind, I am republican. 

The old titles Kept up ; equality before the law ; all 
other equality is impossible. Respect for families of ancient 
lineage; honour to foreign princes. Protection for the arts; 
luxury and elegance. 

These dynasties, these Ministers who take root and 
then rot as they stand, infest a country. This court 
favour ! There lies the misfortune, there the ruin ! Whereas 
the constant renewal and change of the chief of the 
State, a frequent clean sweep of tne Ministers, the officials 
well exposed to the breezes of public opinion — that is 
what is needed. Things like this make a country fresh and 
healthy, and consequently capable of anything if it possesses 
intelligence; and that will never be wanting to the 
French. 

People reproach the Republic with bloodshed, infamous 
deeds, and a thousand other things. Que diable ! Look at 
the beginnings of anything, especially when half the people 
do nothing but spoil, hinder, and oppose. Several attempts 
failed. There was the Napoleonic tradition ; there was Saint 
Helena. 

And now, what do we find? That sterile M. de 
Chambord, and after him the Orleans princes. The 
D'Orl^ans are not to my taste. One is not fond of de- 
graded bastard things. As for Napoleon III., he destroyed 
the chances of his house for ever and a day. The present 
Republic is the true one — the one so long waited ior, the 
crowning benediction of Heaven come at last 

What matter the few freethinkers who are to be found 
under all regimes ? WTiat matter extravagant ideas ? The 
country is not a drawing-room! 



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PARIS, 1878. 321 

Let party men choose their guests ; but the Republic is no 
party. She is the country as a whole ; and as more and more 
of her children rally to her, she will open her arms ever wider ; 
and when all shall have come, there will be none proscribed, 
neglected or favoured, and political parties will have ceased to 
exist. But France will be living. 

For the moment, the Republic has too much to do to 
think of individuals. 

It is criminal, they say, for the Republicans to have black 
sheep in their ranka Yet what nation is without them ? 

If all France were to become legitimist or imperialist, 
would they then become pure and without reproach ? 

Good-night ! I am almost talking nonsense, through 
hurrying on so fast 

Wednesday, June 12th. — To-morrow I take up again my 
work, neglected since Saturday ; I feel remorseful, and to- 
morrow everything shall go on as usual. The evening will be 
enough for my own affairs. 

M. Rouher surprised me in several ways. Firstly, by his 
youthfulness — I had imagined him grave, slow, and decrepit, 
and saw him jump from the cab, offer his arm, pay the 
cabman, and run up the steps; and then by his ideas — a 
half education, he says, leads to the absolute denial of all 
authority. He proclaims the benefits of ignorance (although 
he says it is a puzzling question), and asserts that news- 
papers are poison, scattered broadcast on to the public 
streets. 

You may imagine with what curiosity I looked at him 
and listened to the man who had been Vice-Emperor ! 

But I need not here give you my judgment — firstly, 
because I have not seen him enough, and, secondly, because I 
don't feel inclined to do so to-night He gave us several 
interesting details, with which he is in a position to be 
perfectly acquainted, concerning the attempt on our Em- 
peror in 1867, and then about the Imperial family, and 
ne asked me if we knew the Prince Imperial. As you 
may imagine, I was orthodox with the master of the Bona- 
partists. 

I am even surprised at my delicate flattery and tact. 
Gavini and the Baron seemed to approve me completely, and 
M. Rouher himself was pleased, but .... what a display of 
damp fireworks! 

They spoke of votes, laws, pamphlets, faithful followers, 
traitors, before me. Did I listen? Oh, I should think so 
w 2 



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$22 Marie BASHXmtstiFf 1 . 

It was like a door opening into Paradise. And yet I have 
said that women should meddle with nothing, being only 
capable of doing harm, and not serious enough to stop short 
of excess. 

I am sorry that I am a woman, and M. Rouher, that he is 
a man. 

" Women," he said, " have not the worries and anxieties 
that we have." 

" Will you allow me to say, Monsieur, that we all have 
them alike ? But the worries of men bring them distinction, 
glory, and popularity ; whereas those of women bring them 
nothing at alL ' 

" You believe, then, Mademoiselle, that we are always thus 
rewarded ? " 

" I believe, Monsieur, that it depends on the man." 

You must not think that 1 attacked him just in that way, 
suddenly. I remained at least ten minutes in a corner, 
somewhat puzzled ; for the old fox looked by no means 
delighted at my being introduced to him. 

Would you like to know something ? I am delighted. 
Now I feel inclined to tell you all the clever things I said, 
but I must not I only tell you that I did my very best 
not to talk commonplaces, ana to seem full of good sense, 
and in this way I give you the best idea I can of what 
happened. 

Gavini said the Bonapartists were happy in having the 
sympathy of pretty women, bowing towards me at the 
same time. 

" Monsieur," I replied, turning towards M. Rouher, " I give 
my sympathies to your party not as a woman, but as a man, 
and a man of principle." 

Saturday, June 15th. — Only think ! Robert Fleury would 
not say anything to me, my drawing was so bad. Then I 
showed him the one of last week — and got praise for it, I am 
thankful to say. There are days when everything fatigues 
one. 

Wednesday, Jxdy 3rd. — M came to bid us good-bye, 

and, as it rained, he proposed to accompany us to the 
exhibition. 

We accepted ; but before going, while we were alone, he 
begged of me not to be so cruel, &c. &c. 

" You know that I am madly in love with you — that I 
suffer. If you but knew how terrible it is to see nothing 



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PARIS, 1878. 323 

but mocking smiles, to hear nothing but chaff, when one is 
truly in love!" 

" You exaggerate your own feelings." 

" Oh no ! I swear to you ! I am ready to give you 
every proof . . . the most absolute devotion, the fidelity, 
the patience of a dog! Only say one word — tell me that 
you have some confidence m me. . . . Why do you 
treat me as if I were a mountebank — a being of inferior 
race ? " 

" I treat you as I treat everybody." 

" Why ? since you know that I love you as no one else 
does — that I am aevoted to you heart and soul?" 

"I generally do inspire feelings of this kind." 

" But not like mine. Let me believe, at least, that you 
have not towards me ... a feeling of repulsion." 

" Repulsion ! Oh no ! not that, I assure you." 

"But to me indifference is as terrible." 

" ^ ! wel1 • • • " 

"Promise me that you will not forget me during the 

few months I shall be away." 

"That is not in my power to do." 

"Give me permission to remind you from time to time 
of my existence. . . . Perhaps I shall amuse you, or 
call up a smile. . . . Let me hope that sometimes, at 
rare intervals, you will send me a word . . . only one 
word." 

" I beg your pardon ? " 

" Oh ! without your signature — simply this : ' I am well/ 
Nothing more ; and it will make me so happy ! " 

"1 sign everything I write, and I always honour my 
signature." 

" Then you do give me permission ? " 

" I am like the Figaro, I am willing to receive any 
correspondence." 

"Good God! If you knew how terrible it is never to 
obtain a serious word, to be for ever scoffed at! . . . 
No, I entreat of you, be in earnest ; you would not have it 
said that you did not take pity on me, even at the 
moment of our parting. Will you not let me hope that 
my unbounded devotion, my attachment, my love ? . . . 
Impose on me any conditions, any proofs, you will; but 
let me hope that one day you will be more . . . kind, 
. . . That you will not always laugh ? " 

" As for proofs," I said, rather seriously, " there is but 
Qne, 



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324 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

" And that is ? I am ready and willing to accept 
anything." 

" Time." 

" Time ? Be it so ; you will see." 

" I shall be very happy." 

" But, tell me, have you confidence in me ? " 

" Confidence ? I have so much confidence in you that I 
would trust you with a letter, and feel quite sure that you 
would not open it" 

"Dreadful idea! No, I mean absolute confidence." 

"What great words!" 

"And if the feeling is a great one?" he said, softly. 

" I should be only too happy to believe it ; these tnings 
flatter one's vanity. There, I consent to have a little con- 
fidence in you." 

"Really and truly?" 

" Really and truly. And now you are satisfied, are you 
not ? " 

We went to the exhibition. I am out of patience because 

M is happy, and pays his addresses to me as though 

I had accepted him. 

I have a sensation of real pleasure this evening ; the love 

of M produces absolutely the same effect on me as did 

that of A , so you see that I didn't care for Pietro. 

I was not even in love with him ! 1 was but just on the 
threshold of being in love ; but you know what a horrible 
disenchantment it was. You can understand that I don't 
intend to marry M . 

" True love is always worthy of respect," I said to him ; 
" vou need not be ashamed of it ; only don't get exaggerated 
ideas about it." 

" Your friendship ! " 

" A vain word ! ' 

"Then your 

" You are too exacting ! " 

" But what am I to say, since you will not let me gain 
your love little by little — since you refuse me your friend- 
ship. . . .?" 

" Pure illusion ! " 

" Love, then ? " 

"You have taken leave of your senses." 

"Why?" 

" Because I detest you." 

Friday, JvXy 5th. — At the concert of the Russian gipsies 

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PARIS, 1878. 325 

I don't want to go away and leave a bad impression. We 

were six — my aunt, Dina, fitienne, Philippini, M , 

and I. When the concert was over, we went to eat 
ices, and called to our table the prettiest gipsies, and 
two of the gipsy children, to whom we gave ices and 
wine. It was quite amusing to talk to these girls, 
who are all young and virtuous. They are well looked after. 

Afterwards my aunt gave her arm to fitienne, Dina gave 

hers to Philippini, and I mine to M . We walked home, 

the weather Deing so fine. M , who had become calm, 

spoke to me of his love. ... It is just as it was before ; I 
don't love him, but his fire warms my heart. That is what 
I mistook for love two years ago ! . . . . 

He is eloquent The tears even came to his eyes. As 
I came nearer home I did not laugh so much. I was 
softened by the beauty of the night and this idyll of love. 
Ah ! how sweet it is to be loved ! There is nothing in 

the world so sweet. . . . Now I know that M does love 

me. One cannot simulate like that. And if he loved 
me for the sake of my money, he would have been dis- 
heartened before now by my aisdain; and besides, there is 
Dina, who is supposed to be as rich as I am ; and there are 

many other marriageable girls. . . . M-; is not a beggar, 

and he is a perfect gentleman. He might have found, and 
he will find, some one else. 

M is very nice ; I was perhaps wrong to leave my 

hand in his at the moment of our parting. He kissed my 
hand; I owed him that at least Besides, poor fellow, he 
loves and respects me so much ! I auestionea him as if he 
had been a child ; I wished to know how he came to love me, 
and since when. It seems that he loved me from the first. 
" But it is a peculiar love," he said. " Others are women for me, 
but you are something apart from and above the rest of the 
world. It is a strange feeling ; I know that you treat me as if 
I were some hunchbacked clown ; I know that you are not 
kind, that you have no heart, and still I love you. One 
has always a certain admiration for the heart of the woman 
one loves, and I .... I am not, so to speak, in sympathy 
with you, although I adore you." 

I continued to listen ; for I tell you, in real truth, words of 
love are worth all the sights of the earth, except those to 
which you go in order to be seen. But then it is still a kind 
of song, a manifestation of love ! You are looked at, you are 
admired, and you open out like a flower under the rays of the 



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326 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

Soden, Sundtiy, July 7th. — We left at seven. Grand- 
papa wished me to stay, but I bid him good-bye ; then he 
kissed me, and all at once he began to cry, his nose puckered, 
his mouth opened, his eyes shut, iust like a child. Before his 
illness, my love for him was nothing ; but now I adore him. 
If you only knew what interest he shows in the smallest 
things— how he loves us all since he has been in this terrible 
conaition ! A moment more, and I should have remained. 
.... What folly to be always so sensitive ! Fancy a person 
transported from Paris to Soden. A deathly silence expresses 
but feebly the quiet which reigns at Sodea I am stunned by 
it, as one might be by a great noise. 

Here there will be time for meditation and for writing. 

What depressing stillness ! I hope you will be able to read 
dissertations in plenty ! 

Dr. Til£nius has iust gone ; he asked me the necessary 
questions about my illness, and did not say, like the French 
doctors, " Well ! it will be nothing ; we shall make you well 
again in a week, Mademoiselle/' 

To-morrow I begin my cure. 

The trees here are fine, the air is pure, the country suits 
my face. In Paris I am only pretty, if I am even that ; here, 
I look sweet and poetical, my eyes are larger, and my cheeks 
thinner. 

Soden, Tuesday, July 9th. — They bore me to death, these 
doctors ! I had my throat examined ; pharyngitis, laryngitis, 
and catarrh Only that ! .... I amuse myself bv read- 
ing Livy, and taking notes in the evening. I intend doing it 
every evening. I need to read Roman history. 

Tuesday, July 16th. — I am determined to succeed, by my 
painting, or by some other means, be it what it may ! Do not 
imagine, however, that I have taken up art only from vanity. 
There are perhaps few girls of so artistic a temperament 
in everything as I am. You must have perceived it, 
you who are the intelligent portion of my readers. For the 
others I don't care a straw. They will only think that I am 
extravagant, because I am strange in everything, though 
involuntarily so. 

Wednesday, July 2tth. — Dr. Tomachewsky, who is 
physician to the Opera at St. Petersburg, must know some- 
thing ; besides, his opinion coincides with that of Dr. Fauvel 
and others ; and I myself, too, know that the Soden waters, 



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SODEN, 1878. 327 

by their chemical composition, are quite unsuited to my ill- 
ness. If you are not ignorant, you must know that it is to 
Soden that consumptive patients are sent. 

Yesterday, at six in the morning, my aunt and I, accom- 

Sanied by Dr. Tomachewsky, went to Ems to consult the 
octors there. 

We have now returned. 

The Empress Eugenie is at Ems. Poor woman ! 

TJtursday, August 1st — I disguised myself as a queer- 
looking old German woman, full of odd little ways; and 
as every new arrival arouses intense interest amongst the 
frequenters of the Kurhaus I created quite a sensation. 

But I committed the imprudence of not ordering any- 
thing from the waiter, suspicion was aroused, I was followed, 
pursued, and all was over. 

I assure you, it is dull work to make five-and-twenty 
persons split their sides with laughter without being amused 
yourself 

Friday, August 2nd. — I have been thinking of Nice 
these last days. I was fifteen ; ah ! how pretty I was 
then! 

My figure, my feet, my hands, were perhaps unformed, but 
my face was bewitching. It has never been so since. On 
my return from Rome, Count Laurenti almost upbraided 
me. . . . 

" Your face has changed," he said to me ; " the features, 
the complexion, are as they were before, but it is no longer the 
same. . . . You will never again be as you are in this 
portrait." 

He spoke of the j>ortrait in which I was leaning my 
elbows on the table, with my cheek resting on my hands. 
"You seem to have come into the room, to have leant 
your head on your hands, and with your eyes looking out 
mto the future, to be saying to yourself, half in terror, 
'And is this life ? ' " 

When I was fifteen there was something childlike in my 
face, which was there neither before nor after 1 was fifteen ; 
and that expression is the most bewitching one in the 
world. 

I have discovered some walks in Soden. ... I do not 
mean the usual paths up which every visitor thinks himself 
obliged to climb, put alleys and woods where one sees no one 



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328 MARIE BA8HKIET8EFF. 

I love this quiet. Paris or else the desert for me ! I do not 
speak of Rome ; it would make me cry directly. 

Old Livy tells his story so well ; and when in a certain 
passage you feel that he masks a defeat, or excuses a humilia- 
tion, it is almost touching. I tell you Rome has, as yet, been 
my only love. 

Imagine my delight when I hear the ladies talk of their 
nerves, their acquaintances, their doctors, their dresses, their 
children ! But 1 isolate myself; I go into the woods, or else I 
shut my eyes, and then I am where I please. 

Tuesday, August 6th. — My hat amuses me, and amuses 
Soden. I bought of the woman who serves out glasses of 
water at the springs a blue woollen stocking she nad iust 
commenced ; at the same time she showed me how to work it 
I at once took up both idea and stocking, and sat down, with 
Mme. Dutine, in front of the hotel windows to knit the 
stocking, whilst my aunt and the others went for a walk, I 
know not in what direction. 

A change has come over me. I have become calm, very 
quiet, and gentle ; I am becoming German ; I knit stockings 
— or, rather, a stocking, which will last for ever, because 
I do not know how to do the heel. I shall never do 
it, and the stocking will grow longer, and longer, and 
longer 

It will not even be long". 

It is pouring. My wit is boundless. Sweet Germany ! 
My walks do me good. I read, and do not lose my tima 
Ye sages, glorify me ! 

Wednesday, August 7th. — Oh ! God grant that I may go 
to Rome ! If you Knew, O God, how 1 long for it ! Show 
to thy unwortny child a goodness beyond what she has 
deserved. Oh ! grant that I may go to Rome .... it 
is impossible doubtless, for that would be happiness! .... 

It is not Livy who has given me these ideas, for my old 
friend has been neglected for some days. 

No, not Livy, but only the memory of the Campagna, the 
Piazza di Popolo, the Pincio, and the Cupola in the setting 
sun. . . . 

And that divine adorable twilight of the dawn. When the 
sun rises, and one begins to distinguish little by little .... 
how empty and void are all other places ! . . . . And how 
holy is the emotion called forth t>y the memory of the 



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PARIS, 1878. 329 

miraculous city so full of enchantment ! . . . . I think it is 
not I alone, but every one whom she inspires with inexplicable 
feelings, due to some mysterious influence .... some com- 
bination of the fabulous past with the holy present, or else 
.... I know not how to express it ... . If there were a 
man I loved, my wish would be to lead him to Rome, and 
there to tell him of my love in face of the sun as it sets behind 
the divine Cupola. . . . 

If I were struck down by some immense misfortune there, 
I would go to weep and pray with my eyes lifted to that 
cupola ; and if I should become the happiest of all mankind, 
then also would I eo there ... 

How flat and bourgeois to think that one lives in Paris 
.... and yet it is the only city in the world possible, after 
Rome. 

Paris, Saturday, August 17 tk — This morning we were 
still at Soden. 

I had vowed that I would prostrate myself to the ground 
five hundred times if I found grandpapa alive ; I have ful- 
filled my promise. He is not dead, but it is almost as bad ; 
all the same . . . my cure at Ems is a failure. 

I hate Paris! one can be happier, more contented, and 
satisfied there than elsewhere. In Paris life may be more 
complete, more intellectual, more glorious — I am far from 
denying it — but for the life I lead one needs to love the 
town itself. Towns, like persons, are either sympathetic, 
or antipathetic to me; and I cannot make myself like 
Paris. 

Monday, August 19th. — Mile. E , who was governess 

at Madame AnitzkofFs, is now with us, and will be a kind of 
governess. 

I shall show her great respect when I go out shopping, so 
that she may be treated with respect, for she herself is not im- 
posing, being short, carroty, young, and sad-looking ; a round 
face, like the moon when the moon is dull. The effect of 
her face is to make one laugh ; her eyes full of a comical 
dreaminess; but with the kind of hat I have thought of 
she will do, and 1 shall go to the studio with her. 

I console myself for having left Ems, when I see how 
happy grandpapa is to see me again, dying as he is. 

I nave a terrible disease ; / am disgusted with myself. 
It is not the first time that I have felt I hated myself, but 
that does not make it less terrible. 



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330 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

To hate another person whom you can avoid is one thing, 
but to hate yourself, that is indeed torture. 

Saturday, August 24>th. — I spent an hour in making a 
sketch of grandpapa lying down; it is on a canvas No. 3. 
They say it is very good ; but you know those white pillows, 
the white shirt, the white hair, and half-closed eyes, are any- 
thing but easy to paint 

Of course I did only the head and shoulders. 

I am glad to have this remembrance of him. 

The day after to-morrow I shall go the studio, so as to feel 
less impatient ; I cleaned my paint uoxes, sorted my colours, 
and cut my charcoal During the week I have done all I had 
to do in the way of business. 

Thursday, August 29th. — I don't know by what act of 
providence I was late. At nine o'clock I was not yet 
dressed, when some one came to tell me that grandpapa 
was worse. I dressed, and went to see him several times. 

Mamma, Aunt, and Dina, were crying. M. G came in and 

out as he liked. I said nothing to him. It is no use 
preaching at such a terrible time. At ten the priest came, 
and in a few minutes all was over. 

I remained on my knees with him to the end, passing 
my hand over his poor forehead, or feeling his pulse. I 
saw him die. Poor dear grandpapa, after so mucn suffer- 
ing ! I do not like to utter commonplaces. During the 
religious service which was held by his oedside mamma fell 
into my arms. They had to carry her away, and put her 
to bed in her room. Every one wept aloud, even Isicholas. 
I cried, too, but silently. He had been laid on his bed, 
which was ill-arranged. These servants are abominable. 
They show a zeal which hurts me. I myself arranged the 
pillows, covering them with fine cambric, trimmed with lace, 
and draped a snawl round the bed he loved — an iron one — 
which would seem poor to other people. All round I put 
white muslin. White becomes tne goodness of the soul 
which has taken its flight, the purity of the heart which 
has ceased to beat. I touched nis forehead when it was 
already cold, and felt neither fear nor disgust The blow 
was expected, yet one is stunned when it talk. 

I wrote out the telegrams and announcement of the 
funeral And I also had to take care of mamma, who had 
a violent fit of hysterica I think my behaviour was 
quite what it should have been. And I do not think 



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PARIS, 1878. 331 

because I didn't cry aloud that I have less feeling than 
the others. 

I can no longer distinguish my dreams from my real 
feelings. 

They had to send for mourning dressmakers, &c. My 
family are capable of dispensing altogether with the out- 
ward show of mourning ; they will not understand that the 
world does not take into account the mourning of the 
soul, and that in their eyes the more crape you display the 
more convincingly you prove yourself to oe a good mother, 
a good daughter, or an inconsolable widow, as the case 
may be. 

The atmosphere is filled with a fearful mingling of the 
smell of flowers, of earth and incense. It is hot, and they 
have closed the shutters. 

At two o'clock I began the portrait of my poor dead 
grandfather, but the sun came into the room at four, so I 
had to stop, and it will only be a sketch. 

I do not know how everything should be done, but I 
try instinctively to conform absolutely to etiquette, although 
I have a heart. 

Every moment I open this book, to set down what 
happens. 

Friday, August SOtJi. — Real life is a hateful and tire- 
some dream. . . Yet, how happy I might be with just a 
little happiness. I possess in the highest degree the art of 
making a little go a long way, and I am not affected by 
what affects other people. 

Sunday, September 1st. — And 1 see nothing for me .... 
nothing but painting. If I were to become a great painter, it 
would be a divine compensation ; I should have the right, 
before my own conscience, of having feelings and opinions of 
my own. I should not despise myself for writing down all 
these trifles. I should be somebody. ... I might have been 
nothing, and should be happy in being nothing but the be- 
loved of a man who would oe my glory. . . . But now I 
must be somebody by my own effort. 

Wednesday, September Uh. — Kant declares that things 
exist only by our imagination. That is going too far ; but 
I admit his doctrine in so far as feeling is concerned. As a 
matter of fact, feelings are produced by the impression made 
on one, either by objects or living beings ; and since he says 



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332 MARIS BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

that different objects are what they are, only in our mind — in 
a word, have no objective value or reality except in our 
mind . . . but a person who is in a hurry to get to bed 
and who has to calculate by what hour she must begin 
her drawing so as to have it finished by Saturday, cannot 
hope to reason out all that. 

In ordinary language, imagination is other than what 
I mean by it ; people say imagination when they mean folly, 
or nonsense ; were it not for that. . . . Can love exist 
otherwise than in the imagination? And it is the same 
with every other sentiment You see, all this edifice of 
philosophy is admirable, but a mere woman like myself 
can show it to be false. 

You say that things possess reality only in our minds? 
Well, I tell you that the object strikes your sight, and the 
sound your hearing, and tnat these — let us say things 
— determine everything. If it were otherwise, things would 
not need to exist, we should invent everything. If nothing 
exists in this world, where does anything exist ? For to be 
able to affirm that nothing exists, you must know of the 
real existence of something, no matter where it be, if it were 
only to account for the difference between what is objective 
ana what is imtvginary. 

Of course .... the inhabitants of another planet may 
have a different way of looking at things from ours, and in 
this case it is quite true. But we are on the earth, let us 
remain there, and study what is above or below us, and that is 
quite enough. 

I become enthusiastic about these learned, patiently worked- 
out, extraordinary, amazing follies ; these learned and logical 
arguments and deductions. . . . There is only one thing that 
makes me unhappy ; it is that I feel that it is all false, and 
that I have neither the time nor the will to find out why 
it is so. 

I should like to talk it all over with some one — I am very 
lonely. But I assure you that I do not wish to force my 
opinions on others. I tell my ideas naively, and I would 
readily yield to any fifood reasons that were offered to me. I 
ought, and I should Tike, without making myself ridiculous by 
excessive pretensions, to hear learned men speak; I should 
like, you cannot tell how much, to obtain admittance into the 
worm of letters and science, to see, to listen, to learn. . . . 
But I do not know whom nor how to ask for what I want, and 
there I remain, stupefied, wonderstruck, not knowing into 
what study to throw myself, and catching glimpses on every 



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PARIS, 1878. 333 

side of treasures of interesting knowledge — history, languages, 
science, the whole earth, in fine .... I wish that 1 could 
take in the whole world at a glance, and learn and know 
everything. 

Friday, September 13th. — I am not in my right place in 
the world. I waste in idle talk energy enough for the making 
of a man. I make set speeches to express my feelings about 
domestic and absolutely trifling annoyances. I am nothing, 
and the capabilities which might have developed into real 
qualities are nearly always wasted or misapplied. 

There are big statues which are admirable on a pedestal in 
the middle of a large square, but place one of them in your 
room, and you will see how stupid it is, and how much in the 
way ! You will knock your head and your elbows against it 
ten times a day, and at last you will curse and find unbearable 
that which, if it were in its right place, every one would 
admire. 

If you find that the " statue " is too flattering an image 
for me, well, I am content to let it be . . . whatever you like. 

Saturday, September 21s£. — I have received both praise, 
compliments, and encouragements. Breslau, who has returned 
from the seaside, has brought back some studies of women 
and heads of fishermen. 

The colouring is charming, and poor A , who consoled 

herself formerly by saying that Breslau was no colourist, 
looked quite crestfallen. Breslau will be a great artist, a truly 

freat artist, and if you but knew how severely I judge, and 
ow I despise the pretensions of these females, and their 

adoration for R- , because, so it seems, he is handsome, you 

would understand that I do not fall into ecstasies about 
nothing; besides, when you read these lines the prediction 
will be fulfilled. 

I must force myself to draw from memory, otherwise I 
shall never be able to do compositions. Breslau is always 
making rough drawings, sketches, doing all kinds of things. 
She had already been doing them for two years before sne 
came to the studio, and she has now been there two years and 
more. She came about June, 1876, just when I was wasting 
my time in Russia . . . Oh, misery ! ! 

Monday, September 23rd— Julian came to tell me that M. 
Robert Fleury is very pleased with me ; and filing back over 
everything I have done, he thinks that considering the short 



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334 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

time I have been working I have done wonderfully well ; that 
he has, in fact, great hopes of me, and thinks that I shall 
certainly bring him great credit. 

It is stupid to write every day, when there's nothing 
to sav. I bought a wolf-skin in the Ilussian section for a rug. 
Pincio the Second is terribly afraid of it 

Shall I really become a painter ? The fact is that I only 
leave the studio to read the illustrated Roman Histories, with 
notes, maps, texts, and translations. 

That is also stupid ; nobody is interested in these things, 
and my conversation would be more brilliant if I read some- 
thing more modern. Who cares for early institutions, or for 
the number of citizens who lived under the reign of Tullus 
Hostilius, for the sacred rites of Numa Pompflius, or the 
struggles between the tribunes and the consuls ? 

Duruy's great History, which is appearing in numbers, is a 
treasure. 

When I have finished Livy, I shall read Michelet's His- 
tory of France, and then I shall read the Greek authors 
whom I only know by hearsay, and from quotations in other 
books ; and after that . . . My books are packed up in boxes 
and we must take an apartment in which we are more 
likely to remain than this one, before I unpack them. 

I have read Aristophanes, Plutarch, Herodotus, a little of 
Xenophon, and I think that is all. Epictetus too, but it 
really is not enough. And then there is Homer, whom I 
know very well, and Plato, whom I know just a little. 

Friday, September 27th. — Very often, and in all circles, 
people discuss the mutual wrongs of men and women, 
exerting themselves to prove the one or the other to be the 
more guilty. Must I then interfere to enlighten the poor 
denizens of this earth ? 

Man has to a certain extent the initiative in nearly 
everything, and so must be looked upon as the more guilty, 
without being on that account worse than the woman, who, 
since she is, so to speak, condemned to be passive, escapes 
a certain amount of responsibility, but is not, on that account, 
better than the man. 

Saturday, Sejriember 28th. — Robert Fleury was again 
pleased with me and asked me if I had done any painting. 
" No, Monsieur." 
" Ah, Mademoiselle, that was not right ; you know that 



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PARIS, 1878. 335 

it was agreed that you should. You will be really culpable 
if you do not work a great deal " 

And if you knew how sparing he is in his praise, a 
"not bad" is a great deal to obtain from him, ana I have 
had " good" " well done" " very well done ! " 

Monday, September 30th. — I have done my first regular 
painting. I was to do still-life studies, so I painted, as you 
already know, a blue vase and two oranges, and afterwards 
a man's foot, and that is all. 

I dispensed with the drawing from the antique; I shall 
perhaps oe able to do without the work from still-life. 

I have written to Colignon that I should like to be a 
man. I know that I could be somebody, but with petti- 
coats what do you expect one to do ? Marriage is the only 
career for women ; men have thirty-six chances, women 
only one, as with the bank of the gaming table, but, never- 
theless, the bank is always sure to win ; thev say it is 
the same with women, but it is not so, for there is win- 
ning and winning. But how can one ever be too particular 
in the choice of a husband ? I have never before felt so 
indignant at the present condition of women. I am not 
mad enough to claim that stupid equality which is an 
Utopian idea — besides, it is bad form — for there can be no 
equality between two creatures so different as man and 
woman. I do not demand anything, for woman already 
possesses all that she ought to have, but I grumble at 
being a woman because there is nothing of the woman 
about me but the envelope. 

Thursday , October 3rd. — To-day we remained for nearly 
four hours at an international dramatic and musical nvdin&e. 
They performed scenes from Aristophanes, in frightful cos- 
tumes, and so abridged, so ill-arranged and altered that it 
was simply hideous. 

What was splendid was a dramatic recitation, Christopher 
Columbus, given in Italian by Rossi : what a voice, what 
intonation, what expression, what truth to nature! It was 
finer than music. I think it would seem magnificent, even 
to one who did not understand Italian. 

While I listened to him I almost worshipped him. Ah ! 
how great the power that lies in speech, even when the words 
are learnt by heart, even if it is not real eloquence. That fine 
looking Mounet-Sully recited afterwards . . . but I will not 
speak of him. Rossi's recitations are high art ; he has the 



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336 MARIE BA8HKIBT8EFF. 

soul of a great artist I saw him as he was leaving, talking 
to two other men ; he is common. He is an actor ; but an 
artist of his stamp must have a certain grandeur of 
character even in everyday life. I saw by the look in his 
eves that he could not be altogether an ordinary man, but 
the charm exists only when he is speaking . . . Ah! but 
then it is marvellous ... To think the Nihilists scoff at 
all art! 

What a terrible existence ! If I were clever, I should know 
how to get out of this ; but then there is only some one's word 
for it, and, moreover, that some one is myself Where have I 
proved or shown my intellect ? 

Satwrday, October 5th. — It was Robert Fleury's day to 
correct our drawings at the studio. Well, I had such a 
terrible fright ; he cried, " Oh ! oh ! Ah ! ah ! Oh ! oh ! " in 
several different tones of voice, and then said — 

" So you are going in for painting now ? " 

"Not altogetner, Monsieur; I shall only paint once a 
month ..." 

"Never mind, you are right to begin; you may paint. 
There's sometinff good too in your work." 

" I was afraia I did not know enough to begin painting." 

"On the contrary; you are quite advanced enough. 
Continue ; this isn't bad at all — " &c. &c. 

After this I had a long lesson, which proves that my case 
is not hopeless, as they say at the studio. I am not liked there, 

and whenever I have some poor little success, B gives me 

a furious look, quite laughable to see. 

But Robert Fleury will not believe that I have never 
learnt painting. 

He remained a long while, correcting, chatting, and 
smoking, just as if he were Carolus. 

He gave several extra pieces of advice, and then asked me 
what place I had had at the last competition of last year. 
And when I told him that I was second . . . 

" And this year," he said, " you must . . . H'm !" 

It is so absurd ; he has already told Julian that he thought 
I should get a medal 

At last, without any difficulty, I have the permission to 
paint from life, without having done still-life studies ; I pass 
them over as I passed over the antique. 

Monday, October *7th. — Stupid people will say that I 
want to be the successor of Balzac — it is not so ; but do 



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PARIS, 1878. 337 

you know the secret of his great power ? It is that he pours 
out on paper all that his mind conceives, quite naturally, 
without fear or affectation. Nearly all people of intelligence 
have thought what he has known how to write down ; 
but who could have expressed their thoughts as he does? 
The same faculty given to any other mind would certainly 
have produced a very different result 

No ! Nearly all people have not had these thoughts, but 
in reading Balzac, his truth and fidelity to nature have so 
taken hold of them, that they fancy his thoughts already 
existed in their own minds. 

But as for me, a himdred times, while speaking or 
thinking of some particular thing, I have been horribly tor- 
mented by ideas tnat I felt to be in my mind, and that I 
had not the power to unravel and extract from the frightful 
chaos of my brain. I have also another belief with regard to 
myself; I fancy that whenever I say anything clever, or make 
some remark full of penetration, people will not under- 
stand. 

Perhaps, indeed, they may not understand it as it was 
meant 

Good night, good people ! 

Robert Fleury ana Julian build great hopes on me ; they 
take care of me as if I were a horse which nad a chance of 
winning the Grand Prix. Julian does nothing but intimate by 
his gestures that the praise will spoil me ; but I assured him 
that, on the contrary, it gave me great encouragement, 
which is the truth. 

Wednesday, October 9tL — The successes obtained at the 
competition of the ficole des Beaux- Arts by Julian's pupils 
have given his studio a good standing. 

There are more students than enough. Each one ima- 
gines he will get a Prix de Rome, or at least compete at 
the 6cola 

The ladies' studio shares in this distinction, and Robert 
Fleury vies with Lefebvre and Boulanger. To everything, 
Julian says — " What would they say of it down-stairs ? " or 
else, " I should like to show that to the gentlemen below." 

I long indeed for the honour of having a drawing of mine 
shown down-stairs. You know they only send down the 
drawings to show off what we can do, or to make them 
furious, because they say that women are of no account For 
some considerable tune I have been thinking of the honour of 
having my work sent down, 
x % 



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338 MARIE BASHKIBTSEFF. 

Well ! To-day Julian entered the room, and after looking 
at my study from the nude, he spoke thus : — 

" Finish that well, and I will take it downstairs!' 

Saturday, October \Zth. — My study from the nude was 
thought very, very good. 

" Ah ! you are really talented, and if you work you can 
do what you like." 

I am getting used to praise (I sav so for form's sake), 

and the proof that R tells the trutn is that they all envy 

me. And it is absurd that it should be so ; but it gives me 
pain. There must be something in it for them to say such 
things to me each time, especially when the person who says 
them is a man as serious and conscientious as R . 

As for Julian, he adds that if I knew all that was said 
of me it would be enough to turn my head. 

"You would be intoxicated with pride, Mademoiselle 
Marie," said the maid. 

I always fear that those who will read these lines will 
think that people flatter me because I am rick That 
makes no difference. I do not pay more than the others, 
and the others have influential friends, or are related to 

1)rofessors. Besides, when you read this diary there will no 
onger be any doubt as to my merits. An ! I must at 
least obtain compensation in that way. 

It is gratifying to see the respect paid to one for 
personal merit. 

R begins to imitate Carolus. He comes and he 

foes (he has received a grand medal at the Universal 
Ixhibition) ; he stays to chat after he has corrected the 
drawings, lights a cigarette, throws himself into an arm-chair. 
All that 1 do not mind ; I know that he adores me as a 
pupil, and so does Julian. 

The other day the Swedish girl gave me some advice, 
and so Julian called me into his private room, and told me 
that I ought to follow my natural bent; that my painting, 
would be at first weak, but that it would be ray oum, 
"whereas if you listen to others, I will not answer for 
what may happen." 

He is willing for me to try my hand at sculpture, and 
is going to ask Dubois to give me advice. 

For the first time in Paris I enjoyed my drive. I was 
dressed, my hair done. I looked neat, I had taken my time, 
I had not hurried. And as Dina remained with mamma, 
I had the place of honour. 



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PARIS, 1878. 339 

To ride with ray back to the horses is torture to me 
instead of being a pleasure. Every Saturday I shall do the 
same. It is so stupid to go to the Bois, however you go. 
To-day I was myself again. I had some success, every one 
looked at me. 

I was in mourning, and wore a felt hat with feathers; 
the whole effect being elegant, stylish, and simple. 

Monday, October lUh. — "The whole place is crammed 
down-stairs," said Julian ; " I will take down your study from 
the nude; give it to me." 

I know that these are only trifles, but still it is pleasant. 

Wednesday, October \§iL — It is silly, yet it pains me to 
see the envy of these women. It is so little-minded, so 
shabby, so mean. I have never known what it is to be 
envious of anybody. I merely regret not to be able to do 
as well 

I submit to superiority ; I am sorry for it, but I submit ; 
whilst these creatures .... nothing but conversations 
prepared beforehand, little smiles when they speak of a 
certain person with whom the professor is pleased, things 
said of another person, but meant for me, to prove that 
studio successes signify nothing. 

Finally, they have come to the conclusion that the 
competitions are nothing but a farce, especially as Lefebvre 
has Dad taste and only likes drawings stupidly copied from 
life, and Robert Fleury is no colourist In snort, the 
masters are incompetent, despite their celebrity ; such is 
the dictum of the Spanish girl, Breslau, and Noggren. I 
am quite of their opinion when they say that the studio 
successes imply nothing at all, for there are two or three 
specimens here who will for ever remain deplorable medio- 
crities, and who yet p^ss for first-rate artists in the eyes 
of the other students. 

I am disliked by the students, but the masters are 
pleased with me. 

It is so amusing to hear these women say the very 
reverse of what they said ten months ago, when they felt 
sure of getting first medals. It is amusing because it is 
one of those comedies which are played all tne world over, 
but it irritates my nerves. Is it, perhaps, because after all I 
have an honest nature? 

These studio squabbles annoy and exasperate me in 



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340 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

spite of all my reasoning. I am indeed impatient to leave 
tnein behind me. 

Sunday, October 20th. — I ordered the carriage for nine 
o'clock, and, accompanied by my maid of honour, Mile. 
Elsnitz, I went to see Saint - Philippe, Saint - Thomas 
d'Aquin, and Notre -Dame. I ascended to the top, and 1 
went to see the bells, just like an English girl. Well! 
There is a Paris I adore and that is old Paris, and I could 
be happy there, but only by avoiding the boulevards, the 
Champs - filys^es, all the new and fine quarters, which I 
abominate, and which irritate me. But over there in the 
Faubourg Saint-Germain you feel quite differently. 

We saw the iScole des Beaux-Arts. It is enough to 
make one cry. 

Why cannot I go and study there? Where can any 
one get such thorough teaching as there ? I went to see 
the Exhibition of the Prix de Roma The second prize 
was won by one of Julian's pupils. Julian is much pleased. 
If ever I am rich I will found a School of Art for 
women. 

Saturday, October 26th. — My painting is much better, 

and my study from the nude very good. M. T was 

the examiner for the competition. Breslau was first, I second. 

In short I ought to te satisfied. 

This morning, as Robert Fleury was speaking to me 
in the corner about the designs for my sculpture, I stood 
listening to him like a little child, with a took of inno- 
cence on my face, my cheeks changing colour, not knowing 
what to do with my hands. He could not help smiling 
while he spoke, and so did I, for I was thinking that I 
smelt of fresh violets, that my hair, naturally wavy, dry, 
and light was full of delicious light and shade, ana that 
my hands, holding I don't remember what, had assumed 
amusing attitudes. 

Breslau says that the way my hands touch things is a 
beauty in itself, although my hands are not classically 
beautiful. 

But one must be an artist to discover this beauty. 
The bourgeois and people in society do not notice the way 
one takes hold of tnings, and always prefer plump, or 
even fat, hands to mine. 

Between ten and eleven o'clock I had time to read five 
newspapers and two numbers of Duruy. 



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PARIS, 1878. 341 

I fear that these school successes do me harm. I am 
almost ashamed of getting on so well, and that they say to 
me "much better" or "very good," makes me conscious of 
neither the difficulties conquered nor the progress made — 
but when they say it to Breslau, it seems to me that she 
is a great artist. 

Tnat should reassure me a little. 

Sunday, November 3rd. — Mamma, Dina, Mme. X , and 

I, drove out together. They want to get me married, but in 
order that they should not make me the means of enriching 
some good gentleman, I declared plainly that I was perfectly 
willing to marry, but only on condition that the man was 
rich, in a good position, and handsome, or else some clever 
and distinguished man. As for his temper, were he the devil 
himself that is my look-out. 

Madame G spoke so profanely of the arts that I 

shall go out of the room if she speaks of them again before 
me. She quotes the example of ladies who paint at home 
and have masters, and she says that I shall be able to do 
the same when I am married. In the tone of indifference 
of the woman of the world, of the bourgeoise, there is some- 
thing horribly revolting, which shocks all the nobler artistic 
feelings. 

You understand, I reason things out for myself sensibly 
and logically. 

I snail try first to compass the marriage of my dreams. 
If I am not successful in that I shall marry, as every one 
else does, by the help of my fortune. And so I am quite 
easy in my mind about it When you marry, you have to 
reflect that it is not like choosing a suite of rooms which you 
hire by the month, but like buying a house. You must 
have everything you require in it; you cannot make shift 
with an insufficient number of rooms, as you would in a 
lodging. Moreover, an old Russian tradition says that 
"Buildings added on bring ill-luck." 

Tuesday, November 5th. — One thing there is which I 
think truly beautiful, and worthy of the heroic age : that 
self-annihilation of a woman before the superiority of the 
man she loves must be the most exquisite gratification of 
her self-esteem that can be felt by a woman of noble mind. 

Saturday, November 9th. — A shameful defeat. No medal 
given at an, which will cause those fools of girls who 



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342 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

are advanced, and who did not compete, to triumph. I 
am first all the same ; I think I should have been, 
even against Breslau. There would have been a tie for 
the first place ; but this inward conviction amounts to 
nothing. The fact remains; they did not compete, no 
medal was awarded. In my heart I don't care two straws. 
Breslau is the only one for whom I have any respect And, 
after all, she has worked three years at Julian's, and two at 
Zurich ; in all nearly five years, not reckoning, that is, 
time lost through illness. Ana I have worked altogether only 
eleven months. And if you take into consideration my 
previous attempts, it will make up another month. If you 
count the copies from engravings, and the six heads I painted 
at Rome, done at different times, all this spoiling of paper 
makes up one month's work (eight hours a day, / declare mi 
my honour), six weeks at most So that we arrive at a total of 
one year. And all this to announce to you with great pomp, 
that I draw from the undraped model as well as Breslau ; 
the masters told me so. 

Wednesday, Novennber ISth. — Robert Fleury came this 
evening. It would be idle to repeat all the words of 
encouragement which he said to me after a long lesson. 
If what these people say is true, you will know, by the time 
you read this, what to think of me. 

But it gives one pleasure, notwithstanding, to see that one 
is being really taken seriously. I am absurd .... I have 
the most unbounded hopes for myself, and when other 
people tell me the same thmg, I seem never to have suspected 
such possibilities, and am in ecstasies of joy. I am as mil of 
surprise, and as radiant, as a monster who learns that he is 
loved by the most beautiful of women. 

Robert Fleury is an excellent teacher; he leads you on 
step by step, so that you feel at each step the progress you 
have made. 

To-night he treated me a little like a pupil who had learnt 
his scales, and who had been given a piece for the first time. 
He lifted the corner of the veil, ana revealed to me wider 
horizons. 

To-night marks an era in my work 

Saturday, November 16th. — And to-day Robert Fleury 
was very pleased with Breslau, and advised her to do some- 
thing for the Salon ; adding that she would get in, he himself 
would answer for it 



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PARIS 187 . 343 

As for me, this week I had that old G next to me, the 

pest of the studio ; a good creature, but without any sense, and 
trying to one's nerves. 

My drawing is now as good as Breslau's ; she still has the 
advantage of me in practice. Now I must give myself so 
many months to paint as well as she does, for if I can't do 
that there can be nothing extraordinary in me. During the 
seven or ten months which I allow myself she will not stop . . 
so that I shall be obliged to push on fast enough to catch 
up the past ten months m the seven or ten months in which 
we shall race together. 

It seems to me very unlikely, and would be very extra- 
ordinary. Well, I must leave it to Providence. 

Wednesday, November 20th. — This evening, after my bath, 
I suddenly became so pretty that I spent twenty minutes 
looking at myself. I am sure that if people could see me 
to-night, I should be a success. The colour of my com- 
plexion is absolutely dazzling and yet delicate and tender; 
my cheeks have but the faintest tinge of pink ; nothing 
marked but the lines of the lips, the eyebrows, and the eyes. 

Please don't think I am blind when I am looking plain. I 
see it myself I assure you ; and this is the first time 1 have 
been looking pretty for a very long while. My painting 
swallows up everything. 

The horrible thing of life is that all must fade, become 
parchment-like, and perish ! 

Thursday, November 21st — Breslau has painted a cheek 
so absolutely true and lifelike that I, a woman and a rival 
artist, felt inclined to kiss that woman's cheek. . . . 

This must often happen in every-day life ; one must not 
approach too near for fear of soiling one's lips, and ruining 
the thing one admires. 

Robert Fleury came to-night to the studio. My work is 
still getting on well 

Friday, November 22nd. — The prospect of Breslau's 
future frightens me. I am disheartened and sad. 

She can compose, and in her work there is nothing 
feminine, commonplace, or mis-shapen. She will attract 
attention at the Salon, for besides the expression she will put 
into it, the subject she will choose will be no ordinary one. I 
am truly mad to envy her ; I am but a child in art, while she is 
a grown-up woman. 



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344 MARIE BA8HKIRTSEFF. 

My painting before everything. For the moment I am in 
low spirits ; everything Iooks black to me. 

Satwrday, November 23rd. — Robert Fleury has spoken to 
me again concerning " a real artistic future, the future of a 

Eainter of true talent" I do not remember the expressions 
e used, but he spoke of the study from the whole figure I 
did in the evenings, and Breslau, who heard, looked at me 
with that air of Kindly esteem which people assume when 
they do not want to seem jealous. 

It was not with reference to this week's head that he 
spoke, for mjr painting is still so poor that there is not much 
to say about it , but with reference to my work as a whole. 
What puts me out slightly is that he ordered me not to be 
content with studies at the studio, but to do sketches, 
composition from imagination, &c. 

Hitherto my work had been that of a machine; now I 
must put something of myself into it, and show some 
independence. 

By the way in which he advised me to work, and by the 
way he encouraged me, I saw that I am in his good graces, 
like Breslau. You understand that I don't care a rap for the 
man, I do care for the master; for I tell you again that 
though he be not a painter whose work takes one by storm, 
our cnief is perfect as a teacher. 

With Breslau and myself he has a particular way of correct- 
ing the work 

To-night I have been again to see the Amants de Vtron* 
with Naoine and PauL We asked Filippino to come with 
us. Capoul and Heilbronn sang and acted most delightfully. 
The score seems to open like a flower as one listens to it for 
a second time. I must go again. The flower will seem to 
open still more, and give forth a delicious perfume. The 
work contains exquisite phrases, but one needs both patience 
and delicacy of ear to appreciate them. This music does 
not force its beauty on you, you must seek out its charm, 
which, subtle and faint as it is, yet exists. 

Sunday, November 24>th. — We went to see the Museum of 
Antiauities with Nadine. What simplicity and what beauty ! 
An ! there will never be a second Greece ! 

Monday, December 16tf*. — It is freezing and snowing. I 
can only find rest in work, and I pass the two remaining 
hours in reading or dozing. 



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PARIS, 1878. 345 

Never, never before have I been so depressed, down- 
hearted, discouraged, and sceptical I care for nothing in the 
world. 

I am at work, but like a machine ; I must make a good 
sketch, and get praised for it. This will give me back my 
interest in the artist's fame, and be a reason for living. 

Satwrday> December 21s£. — Done nothing good to-day. 
My painting doesn't get on ; I think I shall want more than 
six months to do as well as Breslau. She will be a remark- 
able woman, no doubt .... an odd mixture, I should say, 
if oddness were not so common nowadays. 

My painting doesn't get on. 

" Well, my girl, you think that Breslau painted better than 
you do after two months and a half ; but she painted from 
still-life or plaster casts." 

Six months ago Robert Fleury made the same remarks to 
her which he did to me this morning: — "Your work is too 
smooth ; the tone is crude and cold. Try and get out of this. 
Make one or two copies." 

She didn't die of it at the end of ten months of painting ; 
Bhall I die of it at the end of ten weeks ? 

Friday, December 27th. — I have lost a week at the 
studio. For the last three days I have wanted to write 
down some reflections which I can't quite recall; but 
irritated by the singing of the young lady on the second 
floor I began turning over the leaves of my stay in Italy, 
and then I was interrupted and lost the thread of my 
thoughts and that melancholy frame of mind which is 
not unpleasant 

I am surprised at the ease with which I made use of 
high-sounding words at that time to describe the simplest 
occurrences. 

But as I aimed at great sentiments, I was vexed at not 
being able to describe strange, wonderful, and romantic 
sensations, and made myself the interpreter of my senti- 
ments ; painters will understand what I mean. That is all 
very well; but how could a girl who claims to be intel- 
ligent be so mistaken about tne true value of men and 
events ? I say this because I was just going to remark 
that my relatives ought to have told me, tor example, 

that A was not to be taken seriously, nor a man 

about whom one should be in the least put out In short, 
they talked most injudiciously about him to me, my mother 



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346 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

being younger than myself; but still, in spite of it all, 
since I have such a high opinion of my intelligence, I ought 
to have been a better judge, and should have treated him 
like everybody else, instead of making so much of him in 
my journal and elsewhere. 

But I was full of impatience to have romances to record, 
and fool that I was, it would perhaps have been more 
romantic without them. In short, I was young and in- 
experienced, in spite of my rhodomontades and boastings ; 
I must confess it at last, at whatever cost 

Very well ! methinks I hear the reader say, a strong- 
minded woman like you should not be obliged to retract 
her words. 

Sunday, December 29th. — Thereupon I leaned my head 
on the sofa, and fell sound asleep till eight o'clock this 
morning. How amusing it is to sleep like this out of your 
bed! 

I have quite lost hold of art, and can't get my mind 
fixed on anything whatever. My books are packed up; I 
am forgetting my Latin and my classics, and feel quite 
stupid. The sight of a temple, of a column, of an Italian 
landscape, makes me loathe this Paris, so dry, worldly-wise, 
learned, and over-refined. The human beings are afl ugly 
here. This paradise, for it is a paradise to highly organised 
natures, is nothing to me. Yes, rest assured that I am 
cured of my errors. I am neither clever nor happy ; I feel 
inclined to go to Italy, to travel, to see mountains, lakes, 
woods, and seas. But travel with my family and their 
parcels, and their daily little bickerings, recriminations, 
tribulations ! No ; a hundred times, no ! To enjoy the 
delights of travel I must wait, but time passes. So much 
the worse ! I could always marry an Italian prince whenever 
I wished to do so ; therefore let us wait. 

For you see by taking an Italian prince I could go on 
working, as the money would belong to me ; but then I 
should nave to give some to him. In the meanwhile I will 
stay here, and go on with my painting. 

On Saturday my drawing, done in two days, was not 
considered bad. You will see that it is only with an Italian 
that I could live in my own way either in France, Italy, 
or where I liked best ; wnat a delightftil life ! I should live 
partly in Paris, partly in Italy. 



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347 



CHAPTER VII. 

PARIS, 1879.— THE SALON. 



Thwrsday, January 2nd. — What I long for is the 
freedom of going about alone, of coming and going, of 
sitting on the seats in the Tuileries, and especially in the 
Luxembourg, of stopping and looking at the artistic shops, 
of entering the churches and museums, of walking about tne 
old streets at night ; that's what I long for ; and that's the 
freedom without which one can't become a real artist. Do 
you imagine I can get much good from what I see, chaperoned 
as I am, and when, in order to go to the Louvre, I must 
wait for my carriage, my lady companion, or my family ? 

Curse it all, it is tins that mates me gnasn my teeth to 
think I am a woman ! — I'll get myself a bourgeois dress 
and a wig, and make myself so ugly that I shall be as free as 
a man. It is this sort of liberty that I need, and without 
it I can never hope to do anything of note. 

The mind is cramped by these stupid and depressing 
obstacles; even if I succeeded in making myself ugly by 
means of some disguise I should still be only half free, 
for a woman who rambles about alone commits an impru- 
dence. And when it comes to Italy and Rome ? The idea 
of going to see ruins in a landau ! 

" Marie, where are you going?" 

"To the Coliseum." 

" But you have already seen it ! Let us go to the theatre 
or to the Promenade ; we shall find plenty of people there." 

And that is quite enough to make my wings droop. 

This is one of the principal reasons why there are no 
female artists. O profound ignorance ! O cruel routine ! 
But what is the use of talking ? 

Even if we talked most reasonably we should be 
subject to the old, well-worn scoffs with which the apostles 
of women are overwhelmed. After all, there may be some 
cause for laughter. Women will always remain women ! 
But still . . . supposing they were brought up in the 
way men are trained, the inequality which I regret would 
disappear, and there would remain only that which is 
inherent in nature itself. Ah, well, no matter what I may 
say, we shall have to go on shrieking and making ourselves 



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348 MABIE BA8HKTRT8EFF. 

ridiculous (I will leave that to others) in order to gain 
this equality a hundred years hence. As for myself, I will 
try to set an example by showing Society a woman who shall 
have made her mark, m spite of all the disadvantages with 
which it hampered her. 

Friday, January 10th — Robert Fleury came to the 
studio in the evening. 

We dine and breakfast at the Cafe Anglais, where the 
food is good; it is the best restaurant in the place. 

The Bonapartist papers, and the Pays in particular, were 
so stupid about the elections that I feel a sort of shame 
for them, as I did yesterday for Massenet when his incanta- 
tion was encored, for it lost its charm by repetition. 

If I don't win fame quickly enough with my painting 
I will kill myself, that is all. I made up my mind to this 
several months ago. ... In Russia once before I wanted to 
kill myself, but I was afraid of hell I will kill myself 
when I am thirty years of age, for until thirty we are still 
young and can hope for some turn of luck — happiness, or 
success, or anything in short There, now, thats settled; 
and if I were sensible, I should not worry myself, neither 
to-night, nor ever again. 

I am speaking very seriously, and am quite pleased at 
having settled it so far. 

Satwrday, January 11th. — At the studio it is thought 
that I go greatly into society ; and this, together with my 
position, keeps me apart, and prevents me from asking them 
to do any ot the little things for me that they are in the 
habit of doing for each other — to accompany me to some 
painter's, for instance, or to a studio. 

I worked honestly all the week until ten o'clock on 
Saturday night, then I went home and began to cry. Until 
now I have always prayed to God, but as He never hears 
me at all, I almost begin to lose my faith. 

Only those who have experienced this feeling can fully 
understand the horror of it I do not wish to preach 
religion out of goodness, but God is a very convenient 
institution. When there is no one to have recourse to, 
when all other means fail, there still remains God. It 
commits us to nothing, disturbs nobody, while affording a 
supreme consolation. Whether He exists or no, we are 
absolutely bound to believe in Him, unless we are quite 
happy, and then we can do without Him. But in sorrow 



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PARIS, 1879. 349 

and misfortune — in fact, in discomforts ot every kind — it 
were better to die than not to believe. 

God is an invention which saves us from utter despair. 

Only think then what a thing it is to call upon His name 
in one's last extremity, without relieving in Him ! 

Monday, January \Wi (New Year's Day in Russia). — 
Well, I am amusing myself with nonsense, as usual .... 
The whole of Sunday is spent at the theatre. A matinee, 
at the Gaiet6, which is rather dull, and an evening per- 
formance of Le Pre aux Clercs, at the Op£ra-Comique. I 
have been spending the night washing myself, writing and 
reading, lying on the floor, and drinking tea 

It is a quarter-past five ; so I will go early to the studio 
and this evening l shall be sleepy; to-morrow morning I 
will rise early and all will go on capitally. Do not imagine 
that I admire myself for all these tricks, for I am disgusted 
and horrified with myself But never mind, I greeted the 
New Year in an original fashion — on the floor with my 
dogs ... I have worked all day long. 

Tuesday ', January \Wi. — I was unable to get up till half- 
past eleven after sittmg up all night The competition was 
judged this morning by the three masters — Lefebvre, 
Kobert Fleury, and Soulanger. I only reached the studio 
at one o'clock, and then only to learn the result The 
elder girls had been examined this time, and the first 
words that greeted my ears as I entered, were : " Well, Mile. 
Marie, come along and receive vour medal ! " 

And indeed there was my drawing fastened to the wall 
with a pin, and bearing the word : " Prize." I should have 
been less surprised had a mountain fallen on my head. 

I must explain to you the importance and real meaning 
of these competitions. Like all other competitive examin- 
ations, they are useful, but the rewards are not always the 
proof of the tastes and natural ability of the individual 
For it is unquestionable that Breslau, for instance, whose 
picture comes fifth in the list, is superior in every way to 
bang, who comes first after the medal Bang goes piano e 
8ano, and her work is like good honest caq>entering ; but 
she always takes a high place, because women's work is in 
general rendered painful Dy its weakness and fancifulness, 
whenever it is not of a strictly elementary character. 

The model was a lad of eighteen years, who, both in 
form and colour, strikingly resembled a cat's head that 



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350 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

one would make with a saucepan, or a saucepan in the fonn 
of a cat's head. Breslau has painted some figures which 
would easily win the medal ; out this time she has not 
succeeded. And further, it is not execution nor beauty 
which is most appreciated down below, for beauty has 
nothing to do witn study, you may have it in you or not, 
execution being only the complement of other more 
important qualities; but it's above all, correctness, boldness, 
ana perception of truth. They don't consider the diffi- 
culties, and they are right; therefore a good drawing 
is preferred to an indifferent painting. What, after all, do we 
do here ? We study ; and these heads are judged solely 
from that point of view. Mine is a perfect swaggerer. 
These* gentlemen despise us, and it is only when they 
come across a powerful, and even brutal, piece of worlt, 
that they are satisfied; this vice is very rare amongst 
women. 

It is the work of a young man, they said of mine It is 
powerful ; it is true to nature. 

" I told you that we had a stunner up there," said Robert 
Fleury to Lefebvre. 

"You have won the medal, young lady," said Julian, 
" and it was awarded with honours ; the gentlemen did not 
hesitate." 

I ordered a bowl of punch, as is the custom down-stairs, 
and Julian was called. I received congratulations, for many 

E resent imagined that I had reached tne height of my am- 
ition, and that they should get rid of me. 

Wick, who won the medal at the last examination 
but one, is this time the eighth; but I console her by 
repeating to her the words of Alexandre Dumas, who says 
so truly : — " A failure is not a proof that we have no talent, 
whereas one successful piece of work is a proof that we have." 
This definition is, after all, the one most exactly applicable to 
these matters. 

A genius may do a bad thing, but a fool can't do a good 
ona 

Thursday, January 16th. — With two or three exceptions 
the evening pupils do not come in the morning. 

I have keen much praised; that was a delightful 
moment, though, when . . . 

" Come and take your medal ! " 

The other night, at Madame de M 's, I said in a sweet, 

low voice, when showing my medal — 



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PARI8, 1879. 351 

" This represents a great deal of courage, Madame." 
And, indeed, it represents the work of twelve months. Next 
to the terror I experienced after my meeting with the king 
at Naples, the most violent emotion of my life has been the 
reading of L'Homme-Fernme. The admiration I felt for 
Dumas made me believe for a few minutes that I loved, 
with passion and frenzy, this man of fifty-five years, whom 
I had never seen. I understood Bettina and Goethe. 

Friday, January 17th. — If I were only sixteen I should 
be the happiest woman on earth. 

" Well!" said Robert Fleury, "you have got the prize." 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

"That's all right; and you may be sure that you have 
deserved it" 

" Oh, Monsieur, I am happy to hear you say so." 

" Yes ; it is well gained, not only on account of the head 
you did for the competition, but you have deserved it for 
your work generally. You have made great progress, and I 
am glad that it has so happened, and that you have won 
the medal ; you have thoroughly deserved it" 

I was blushing, and felt confused as I listened, which 
rather took from my pleasure in hearing those words ; but my 
aunt, who was present, trembled more tnan I did. 

" Mademoiselle Breslau has produced a nice horror," he 
said to the Spanish girl as he moved away. 

"It was so difficult, Monsieur." 

" Oh ! tut, tut. It is because she has taken it into her 
head not to work ; she appears now and then, and if she 
does not receive endless compliments, she disappears and we 
see nothing of her for weeks. She has, nevertheless, done 
some studies which . . . ." 

"That head was so difficult, Monsieur," rejoined the 
Spaniard, who would take the devil's part if necessary, in 
order to find fault with the competitions. 

"But she doesn't work." 

"But she does something at home . . . ." 

" It would be much better for her to make a good prize 
drawing." The poor man was annoyed that this should take 
place before Lefebvre and Boulanger. 

Saturday January 19th. — I have again caused, maintained, 
and quieted a studio rebellion. After it was over I went 
and told everything to Julian, so that he might not 
have the facts put before him in a distorted form. 
T 



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&52 MARIE BA8HKIBTSEFF. 

Greatness in the bud ! Science and talent in the bud 
I very much fear that all these buds will only make a 
harvest for some donkey ! Oh ! if only I could be a man ! 
but no, it would be better to die. 

Wednesday, January 20th. — All day I am thinking of a 
blue sea, of white sails, and a sky all brightness .... 

On entering the studio I find P . This old mush- 
room tells me that in a week's time he is going to 
Rome, and in the conversation he happens to mention 
Katarbinsky, and others .... and I leel myself trans- 
ported with joy at this prospect of sunshine; of old 
marbles amongst the foliage ; of . ruins, statues, and 
churches. The Campagna ! that " desert, " ; yes, but I adore 
that desert. And thank God there are many besides myself 
who love it. 

That divine and artistic atmosphere ; that light, which, 
when I think of it, makes me cry with rage at Deing here. 

I know some painters there ! 

There are three classes of people : the first love 
all this, are artists, and do not find the Campagna an 
odious desert cold in winter and unbearable in summer; 
the second don't understand art and don't feel its 
beauty, but dare not own it, and try to look like 
the former. These latter do not displease me so very 
much, for they see their nakedness, and try to con- 
ceal it. The third section resembles the second, but 
has not this redeeming feature. This is the class 
that I loathe, because they disparage and chill you. They 
do not feel or understand anything themselves ; they 
pronounce art to be nonsense; and, narrow, callous, and 
revolting, they wallow in the full sunshine of Italy. 

Monday, Fefamary 3rd. — Yesterday I went to see 
LAsnommoir, and liked it very much. But beforehand, 
from about five o'clock until evening, I spent my time 
trying to make a sketch. One must practise .... The 
others downstairs do so every Sunday; they are given a 
subject, and are expected to make a rough sketch from 
imagination. 

As for myself, I begin at the beginning : Adam and Eve, 
on a canvas No. 4. And now that I've begun, I shall do 
one every week If I listened to myself, I should never have 
done talking about my talents. For a first attempt my 
sketch is very good .... 



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PARIS, 1879. 363 

I will show it to. Julian with another that I am going 
to do. 

Tuesday, February 4>th. — This evening the model did 
not come. I sat, and while I was on the platform 
Julian arrived, and we talked politics. I enjoy, talking to 
that slyboots. 

I make fun of everything and everybody at the 
studio. I recite, jeer, and amuse them ; I sketch out 
political programmes when I am in the mood, and Julian 
says to me : " Bravo ! And your painting besides ! . . . . 
Why, with such gifts you might become unique in Paris." 
He thinks me very witty ana clever, ruling our salon at 
home, and very influential. 

Wednesday, February 5th. — There! we have been to 
Versailles, on the first day of the Gambetta Presidency. 
His speech, which he read, was received with enthusiasm, 
and had it been worse the result would have been the 
same. Gambetta read badly, and with a detestable voice. 
He has not the moderation of a President, and, after 
seeing Gr6vy, you wonder what this man is doing there. 
In order to preside over a Chamber it is not sufficient to 
be talented — a particular temperament is necessary. Gr£vy 
presided with mechanical regularity and precision. The first 
word of his sentences just htted the last. Gambetta makes 
crescendos and diminuendos: he expands and contracts; he 
throws his head about, and has ups and downs. . . ! In 
short, he is either incoherent or very artful. 

Sunday, February 16th. — On Saturday I received a 
scolding. 

"I cannot understand how, with your abilities, you find 
so much difficulty in painting." 

Well, I don't understand it either. I feel paralysed! I 
can struggle no longer! There's nothing for it but to die. 

good God ! have I nothing more to expect from anyone ? 
And, worst of all, I have just filled the fireplace with wood, 
without the smallest necessity, for I wasn't cold, . . . 
while perhaps at this very moment there are manv 
poor wretches who are hungry and cold, and weeping with 
misery. These reflections immediately check the tears that 

1 am so fond of shedding. It's only a notion, perhaps, but I 
fancy that I should prefer complete misery; for then one 
is at the lowest ebb, and there is nothing to fear, and one 

Y 2 



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354 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

doesn't die of hunger so long as one has any strength left 
to work. 

Tiiesday, February 18th. — A little while ago I fell on my 
knees beside my bed to ask God for justice — for pity, or 
pardon ! If I do not deserve my agonies, let Him do me 
justice ! If I have committed grievous sins, I ask 
Him for forgiveness ! If He exists, and is really such as 
we are taugnt to believe, He must be just, He must pity 
and forgive. I have none but Him ; it is therefore natural 
that I should go to Him, begging Him not to forsake me 
in my despair, not to lead me into temptation, and not to 
let me doubt, and blaspheme, and die. My sins are, no 
doubt, like my sufferings — doubtless I commit every minute 
petty sins which form an overwhelming total 

Just now I spoke harshly to my aunt, but I could not 
help it. She came in just when I was weeping, with my 
hands over my face, and was summoning God to attend to 
me a little. Oh, misery of miseries ! They mustn't see me 
weeping, or they might think it was from love, and then I 
should . . . weep with rage. 

Wednesday, Felrruary 19th. — I must do something to 
amuse myself I say this in silly imitation of what is 
written in books. What is the use of amusing oneself? 
Even suffering itself is a kind of enjoyment ; and then I am 
not like other people, and I hate all those things that they 
do to improve themselves — morally and physically — because 
I don't believe in it. 

Nice, Friday, February 21st — Here I am at Nice. I 
want to bathe in the air, to drown myself in light, and to 
listen to the sound of the waves. Do I like the sea ? 
Why, I adore it. Rome is the only place in which I 
forget it ... or nearly forget it. 

I travelled with Paul. . . We were taken for husband 
and wife, which ruffled me immensely. As our villa is let, 
we go to the H6tel du Pare — the old villa Aqua Viva, 
in which we lived eight years ago. Eight years! and I am 
travelling for pleasure. We dine at London House. 
Antoine, the proprietor, comes and pays me his respects, and 
so do the dames du comptoir. Then all the cabmen smile 
and bow, and the one we engage pays me compliments on my 
having grown so much — he knows me. Another one offers 
his services, telling us that he served Mme. Romanoff. 



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PARIS, 1879. 355 

Next come my friends of the Rue de France. This is all 
very nice, and these good people have given me much 
pleasure. 

The night is beautiful, and I escape all alone until ten 
o'clock in the evening ; I go roaming by the sea-shore, and 
sing to the accompaniment of the waves. There is not a 
living soul in sight, and the scene is very lovely after Paris 
— especially after Paris ! 

Saturday, February 22nd. — How different from Paris! 
Here I awake without effort; the windows are open all 
night. The room I occupy is the very one in which we took 
our drawing lessons with Benza, I watch the sun gradually 
lighting up the trees near the fountain in the middle of the 
garden, as I used to see it every morning ; my little study still 
has the same paper, the one I chose myself. It is no doubt 
occupied by some English barbarian. ... I recognised the 
room by tne paper, for they have built a passage, which 
confuses me ; tne room I am in was a conservatory. The 
weather is beautiful ! 

We dine at London House, and shall continue to do so 
as long as we stay at Nice. Everybody is to be seen there, 
especially during the carnival time. 

Sunday, February 23rd. — Yesterday we went to Monaco. 
I can never express now this nest of cocottes repels me. I 
only stayed in the gaming-rooms for ten minutes, but that was 
enough for me, as I don't play. Mine. Abaza, who had 
come there for the theatre, expressed her delight at meeting 
me again. We heard a comic opera in the new hall, which is 
very fine, and in the style of the day. 

Gamier fecit ! 

I go for a walk in the twilight, and 1 admire the sea and 
the sky. W T hat colour, what transparency, what purity, what 
perfume ! 

Monday, February 24>th. — I am happy when I can ramble 
alone. The waves are incomparably beautiful; I went to 
listen to them before going to hear PattL It had been 
raining, and there was a soft and delicious freshness in the 
air. It does one's eyes good to gaze at night into the dark 
blue of the sea and the sky. I was so absorbed that I did not 
notice that the sea had broken away a part of the Promenade, 
and I fell into this precipice of about two or three yards 



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356 MARIE BASHRIRTSEFF. 

Paris, Monday, March 3rd. — I started yesterday at mid- 
day; the weather was superb, and I almost shed real tears 
when leaving this delicious and incomparable country. From 
my window I could see the garden, and the Promenade des 
Anglais with its Parisian elegance. From the parage I could 
see the Rue de France, with its old Italian buddings, and its 
alleys with their picturesque light and shade. And all these 
people who know me — " It is Mile. Marie," they say as I pass. 

As much as the people of Nice have made me suffer, do I 
adore the houses ana streets. It is my own country, after all. 
Now I should like to leave Paris ; my mind wanders, and I 
feel lost. I expect nothing more, I hope nothing more. I am 
desperate and resigned. I think and think ; I seek, and 
finding nothing, I neave one of those sighs which leave me 
more oppressed than before. Come now, what would you do 
in my place ? 

Now that I am in this merciless Paris, I feel as though I 
hadn't looked half enough at the sea ; I should like to see it 
again. I have brought back with me poor Bagatelle, my dog 
wno was run over at Spa, and has been so miraculously 
cured. It seemed a pity to leave him there all alone. You 
could not believe the goodness, faithfulness, and attachment of 
this animal. He never leaves me, is always under my chair, 
and hides himself with such a humble and pleading face when 
my aunt comes to remonstrate about the carpets. 

Tuesday, .Ma^rch Uh. — I called to see Mme. G- , and we 

went out together ; she paid a few calls, during which time I 
read the newspapers in the carriage. At her nouse we saw 
the Countess Murat, with her daughter-in-law. Ah, yes, M. 

G has at last obtained consent We talk with enthusiasm 

about the departure of the Prince, then we deplore the dangers 
to which he may be exposed, and go into ecstasies over his 
energy. He did not ask anybody's advice. 

And then if those good Zulus do eat Napoleon there will 
not be so very much to despair about. When he is dead his 
party disappears, and there are no further obligations ; people 
will turn to that rascally Republic, which, after all, is the 
sister of the Empire. 

Wednesday, March 5th. — To-morrow I begin work again. 
I give myself another year. One year in which I mean to 
work more ardently than ever. Of what good is it to despair? 
Oh yes, this is a thing we say when we feel in better spirits, 
but when despair takes possession of you .... 



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PARIS, 1879. 357 

Despair, my angel, will not bring you anything, and 
as there is nothing to be done let us set to work ! 1 shall have 
time enough to be discouraged afterwards. As this life must 
be dragged out in the hopes- of a better fate, let us be busy in 
it. There is no way of getting out of it ; is it not just the same 
thing whether I draw or read ? You will think these strange 
reasonings to induce me to work ? It is no longer even a 
makeshift! .... It is that I fear I may some aay say to 
myself — "If, instead of remaining at the studio, you had 
thought of self, you might perhaps have found . . . . " 

Anything you like ! There may be some way ; but I 
know not what to do. 

Really, it is horrible ! I am always wondering if it would 

be possible to bring my father here But, do you know 

what he is doing ? He is having his house newly done up to 
receive us. Thank you ! I have been there and have had 
enough of it. My aunt and mother are incapable of 
anything, and I am ashamed to admit that I am not able to 
compel them ; even then nothing would come of it. 

Just. when we are giving up seeking is the time to find. 

In any case, painting can do me no harm But I receive 

no encouragement! .... Jiist the very opposite. There, 
my angel, justify yourself for your want of intelligence. 

Romance ! stuff ! Oh ! Do you see ? I write, I think, I 
dream, and then I stop short ; and there is always the same 
silence, the same solitude, the room looks always the same. 
The motionless furniture seems to provoke and mock me ! I 
am here lighting with this nightmare while others live ! 

Glory I Oh bother glory ! 

I will marry ; why delay this event ? What am I waiting 
for ? If I give up painting I have a wide field before me. 

Then .... I must go to Italy and get married there 

Not to Russia ; to buy a Russian would be dreadful. Besides, 
in Russia I could easdy get married, especially in the country ; 
but I am not such a fool. At St. Petersburg ? Well, if my 
father would consent, we might spend a winter there 

Next winter in St. Petersburg, then ! I do not think I am 

fond of my art ; it was a means, I give it up Truly ? 

Oh ! I can't tell .... Shall I give myself a year — the time 
for which we have hired our apartments ? 

To be or not to be ? 

A year is not enough .... At the end of that time I 

shall see if it is worth while going on But in Italy, 

and if I give up painting, I shall be hearing talk of young lady 
artists, that will enrage me and cause me to regret ; and when 



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358 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

in Naples or St. Petersburg, every time I hear praises of 
somebody's talent, how shall I be able to listen ? And the 
foundation for all this would be my beauty. Supposing I do 
not succeed ! For it is not only necessary to please ; you 
must please some given man. 

Directly I put art aside and admit the possibility of going 
into society, or of shining at the promenade or at the theatre 
.... I am rambling, I will go to bed. This thought of St 
Petersburg really pleases me. However, at twenty years of 
age, I shall not be so very old. In Paris, there is nothing 
to be expected in the way of rich husbands ; as for poor ones, 
Italy is much more convenient 

Saturday ', March 8th. — I have been trying to model, but I 
have never seen how it is done, and know nothing about it 

The flower-stands and vases are filled with violets. I shall 
have some for a long time ; they are in earth. 

How beautiful is this blue satin, those violets, the light 
streaming from above, the harp. . . . Not a sound, not a 
soul ... I don't know why I am so afraid of the country ; 
I am not afraid of it, ... . but am not eager for it . . . 
After all, it is very charming as a rest, but I am not tired, only 
dreadfully bored. 

Sunday, March 9th. — Do you know that writing is a great 
consolation! There are things which would kill you if you 
couldn't destine them to be read by others, and so " divided to 
infinity." 

I am pleased to find that a man like Dumas troubled 
himself about the quality of his paper, ink, and pens, because 
each time that some accessory prevents my working, I tell 
myself that it is idleness, and that great painters had no 
whims. . . . 

But stop. ... I can understand that Raphael, suddenly 
inspired, should have drawn his Madonna delta Segg'wla on 
the bottom of a cask ; but I also think that this same Raphael 
must have had recourse to all his favourite tools in order to 
paint and finish off his picture ; and had he been forced to 
paint somewhere against his will, he would have become 
as enervated as I do, ordinary mortal that I am, in Julian's 
studio. 

Wednesday, March 12th. — I must go and hang myself! 
However mock-heroic and impossible and absurd this idea of 



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PARIS, 1879. 359 

destroying myself may seem to you, it must come to that at 
last. 

I do not get on with my painting. It is true, however, that 
since I commenced painting I have worked anyhow, and with 
many interruptions; but that has nothing to do with the 
matter. I who had dreamed of being rich, nappy, a leader of 
fashion, an attraction .... to lead, or I should say to drag 
out such a life ! 

Mile. Elsnitz is my companion as usual, but the poor 
thing is so dull Picture to yourself a tiny body, with a large 
head and blue eyes. . . . Have you ever noticed at the 
milliner's those wooden heads with pink cheeks and blue 
eyes ? Well, that's it — the same in looks and expression. 
Added to this is a languid air, which you also see on these 
dummies which I have just mentioned ; a slow walk, but so 
heavy that to hear her you would think it was a man; a 
weak and drawling voice ; she takes in what you say with 
astonishing slowness. She is always absent, never sees any- 
thing at once, and after a while she stops in front of you and 
gazes at you with such a serious face, that she either makes 
you burst out laughing or puts you in a rage. 

She often comes into the room and stands in the middle of 
the floor as if rooted to the spot, and looking as though she 
did not know where she was. Perhaps her most irritating 
trick is her way of opening the doors ; this operation lasts so 
long that every time I hear her I feel inclined to rush to her 
assistance. I know that she is young — only nineteen. I 
know too that she has always been unfortunate, that she is in 
a strange house where she has not a friend, not a soul with 
whom to exchange an idea. ... It often grieves me to see 
her, and her gentle, passive expression touches me ; and then 
I make up my mind to chat with her, to ... . But it is no 

food; I nnd her cjuite as repulsive as 1 did the Pole and 
I . I know it is wrong, but her idiotic look paralyses me. 

I know what a sad position hers is ; but when she was with 
the Anitchkoffs it was just the same. When asking me the 
slightest thing, to play something on the piano, for instance, 
she goes through as much hesitation and torture as I should 
feel were I to beg some one to give me an invitation to a party 
or a ball. 

However, I do not chat with anybody here, so she is 
not an exception. 

I work at the studio, and when taking my meals at 
home I read papers or a book. This is a habit I should 
find it difficult to shake off. I read even while practising 



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360 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

the mandoline. Therefore the poor little thing is not 
treated worse than the others. I feel remorse, but I can't 
help it. 

I am intensely miserable when in her society. The 
drives I am obliged to take with her would be a perfect 
torture to me if I did not look out of the window, and. by 
persistently thinking of something else manage to forget 
her. . . It is not difficult to do so — nothing could be 
more insignificant than the poor being, or more depressing ! 
I do so wish that she coidd find some condition m which 
she might be happy, and so take herself off I am 
ashamed to say that she spoils the desolate wilderness of 
my life. 

Oh, that painting ! if I could only do it ! 

FriiUty, March 14>tL — In spite of my remonstrances, 
Paul has just left I got angry, and declared that he 
shouldn't go. He declared, upon his honour, that he 
would. I held the door; but, taking advantage of a 
moment's absent-mindedness, he escaped. 

It was to prove that he could keep his word. He had 
sworn that he would go to-day. In snort, it was the firm- 
ness of a weak mind who, feeling himself of no account in 
important things, makes up for it in trifles. 

This saved me from fretting. 1 immediately got twenty 
francs from my aunt to send an abusive telegram to my 
father at Poltava, but at the same moment Rosalie came 
to tell me that I must not reckon on Champeau (a girl 
who sometimes makes my dresses), as she has typhoid 
fever. Her workwomen have left, and she is all alone. 
An idea struck me. I tore up the telegram, and sent the 
twenty francs to this woman. 

There is nothing more pleasant than to do some good 
for which one gets no return. I would willingly go and 
see her — I am not afraid of typhus — but it would look as 
though I expected to be thanked; and besides, I might 
spena this trifle if I did not send it to her at once. . 
I must confess that the pleasure of doing so would not 
then be so keen. I suddenly feel an impulse to boundless 
charity. To relieve the sorrows of others, when nobody 
thinks of lightening mine, would be rather chic, 
wouldn't it ? 

Saturduy, March 15th. — If Robert Fleury — whom we call 
Tony in his absence — scolds me to-day, I shall give up paint- 



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PARIS, 1879. 361 

ing. Yon know how much envy and unpleasantness my 
progress cost me. Each time I get into a difficulty people 
seem to say, "I told you so — it couldn't last!" My first 
efforts won compliments; then I arrived at a more difficult 
stage and saw that it caused too much satisfaction around 
me not to suffer considerably. This morning I dreaded my 
lesson, and while that animal of a Tony was correcting the 
others, and getting nearer and nearer to my place, 1 was 
saying prayers so fervently that Heaven seems to have 
heard me — for I gave satisfaction. Good heavens ! what a 
load fell from my mind! Perhaps you can't imagine such 
emotions ? Can you imagine me waiting in anxious 
silence fully conscious of the delight that would be felt 
if I received a snub? This time it would have been for 
good and all — for friends or enemies are the same in these 
things. However, it is past. Next week I shall have courage 
to endure any wrench. 

Sunday, March 16th. — Coco is dead ! He was crushed 
by a cart just before the door. When I called him to 
dinner I was told of it. After the grief which I felt at 
the death of Pincio the First, whose place the present 
Pincia is filling, this misfortune seems less. . . But if 
you had a dog born in the house — young, silly, playful, 
ugly, good-natured, and affectionate, jumping and look- 
ing at you with two eager and innocent eyes, like child- 
ren's — you'd understand how much I suffered from his 
loss. 

I wonder where the souls of dogs go ? This poor little 
creature, with its long white and woolless body — for he had 
no more hair behind than in front — with one huge ear 
always pricked up and the other hanging down ! in snort, I 

E refer ten times over an ugly dog like this to one of those 
ightful beasts which cost so much. 

He looked like one of the beasts of the Apocalypse, or 
one of the carved monsters on the roof of Notre-Dame. 

Pincia does not seem to notice that her son has been 
killed; it is true she is expecting a new family. 

They shall all be called Coco or Coquelicot. I think it 
is said that dogs have no souls. Why not? 

Tuesday, April 1st. — Why should mirth be more agree- 
able than sorrow ? We have only to make believe that ennui 
pleases and amuses us. 

A reminiscence of the Enchiridion of Epictetus, and very 



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362 MARIE BA8HKIBT8EFF. 

appropriate ; but I could reply, that first impressions are 
involuntary ; so that however strong we may be, the first 
impression must always have given us the start, after which 
we may manage as we please, but in any case it must 
always have been so. It is by far the most natural course 
to continue in the direction of one's first impression, that 
is to say, the natxural impression, to rely upon and strengthen 
the feeling experienced, than to divert or twist it, and to 
cripple one's feelings so far as to conform them one to the 
other or, rather, to confuse them all, to efface them, and to 
trouble no more about anything .... to cease living, 
which is after all what I wisn to bring about 

It would be shorter to . . . But no . . . Then all would 
be over. 

The most odious thing in the world is to be in it, to 
live unknown, to see no one of any interest, or have a 
chance of exchanging ideas with any one ; to know neither 
the celebrities, nor the men of the day. . . . This is death, 
this is hell! 

I will speak now of what are commonly called misfor- 
tunes. We ought not to rebel and complain; sorrows even 
are joys, and they ought to be considered as indispensable 
elements of life. Supposing I lose a loved one, do you 
think it is nothing to me? On the contrary, I should be 
in despair, I should weep and moan and cry out, and then 
this pain would gradually melt into long prolonged, perhaps 
abiding, sadness. 

I don't say that this would be pleasant, I don't wish for 
it, I don't prefer it ; but I can't help saying that it would 
be life and therefore enjoyment. 

We lose a husband or a child, we are deceived by a 
friend ; and we loudly accuse our fate ; I should very likely 
do the same. But these manifestations are in the nature of 
things, and God is not offended at them, and men are not 
offended either, knowing that these are the natural and 
inevitable consequences of the sorrow we endure. We groan, 
but we don't think in our inmost souls that these things 
ought not to be ; we accept them almost unconsciously. We 
may even seclude ourselves, and afterwards retire to a con- 
vent — afterwards, you understand. 

It may also frequently happen that we are happy when 
quite alone, that is to say with a husband, or with the 

Earents of whom we must think and for whom we live; 
ut as regards myself, I am speaking on behalf of persons 
who are quite alone Besides, I have now a grudge 



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PARIS, 1879. 363 

against my family as one of the causes of my sufferings. 
Neither do I speak of the silent and unknown heroes 
described in novels by persons who invent them, or copy 
them from nature in order not to remain like them. 

You imagine perhaps that I complain of a calm life, 
and that I wish for excitement ? May be, but that's 
not it. 

I like solitude, and I even think that if I lived, I should 
isolate myself from time to time to read, to meditate, and 
to rest ; then it becomes a delight, an exquisite enjoy- 
ment. In the dog days you are glad to get mto a cellar ; 
but would you like to be there long, or for ever ? 

Now if some knowing fellow would be at the trouble 
to beat me in argument, he might ask me whether I 
would consent to purchase life by the death of my 
mother, for instance ? To this I would reply, that I 
should not desire it even at the price of a life less dear, for, 
in the order of nature, one's mother is the person one loves 
the most. 

My remorse would be horrible, and out of pure selfish- 
ness I would not consent. 



Thursday, April 3rd, — After all, life is pleasant. I sing 
and dance when I am all alone, for perfect solitude is a great 
enjoyment ; but what a torment when it is disturbed by the 
servants, or by one's family ! . . . Even one's family ! . . . 
Listen ! This morning, on returning from the studio, I 
imagined that I was happy, and you wouldn't believe how 
mucn affection I felt in my heart for all my people, and 
for my good aunt, who is all devotion and abnegation. But 
there it is, I am not happy ! 

Little Elsnitz embitters my existence. I no longer take 
tea because she pours it out, and when I am obliged to eat 
bread which her lingers have touched ! ! ! I would run the 
risk of an aneurism, if by running madly along the stairs I 
could get the start of her and walk a few steps without 
her. When I want the decanter or the vinegar bottle, I 
take them from the opposite side, so as not to touch what 
she has touched. That poor girl has something of the 
insect about her, and her plaintive looks and black nails 
sicken me. 

Saturday, April 5th. — Robert Fleury, being ill, scarcely 
corrected at all; besides which my work has not been 



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364 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

farticularly good. Sarah tries to reconcile me and Breslau ; 
make objections, but in my heart I should be glad. 
The artificial leaves on the mantelpiece caught fire from 
the blue candles, and cracked the glass. 

But misfortunes do not come because glasses break ; 

f lasses break because misfortunes are to happen. We should 
e thankful for the warning. 

Sunday, April 6th. — I have a little morning hat, so 
stylish that I am not afraid to go and spend the 
morning alone at the Louvre ; but as the hat is becoming, 
as well as distingvd, I have made the conquest of a young 
artist, who has followed me all the time, and who risks a 
bow in the passage where there is no one near ; but 
I would not notice anything, so he was considerably 
abashed. 

Tuesday, April 15th. — Julian came in and announced 
to us the death of our Emperor ; I was so startled, that I 
did not comprehend what he said. Everybody got up to 
look at me ; 1 turned pale, tears, stood in my eyes, ana my 
lips quivered. Accustomed to see me make fun of every- 
thing, the amiable Julian tried to laugh. The truth was, that 
some fellow had fired four shots point blank at the Emperor, 
but he was not hit. 

And Julian slapped his thigh, saying that he should 
never have thought me capable of such emotion; nor 
should I. 

Wednesday, April 16th. — Rather a funny conversation 
with Breslau ; we were in the anteroom — I, she, and Sarah. 
I gave an orange to Sarah, who offered half of it to Breslau, 
and laughingly said — 

" Take it ; it is from me, and not from Mademoiselle 
Marie." 

But as she hesitated, I stopped washing my brushes, and 
turning towards her, said with a smile — 

" I offer it you." 

She was quite taken aback, and accepted the orange with 
a blush ; I also blushed. 

" What it is to have oranges," I said as I peeled another ; 
" take some more, Mademoiselle." 

" Sarah, did you see how we both blushed ? " 

" It is so stupid," said Sarah. 



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PARIS, 1879. 365 

" You are overwhelmed with my kindness," said I laugh- 
ingly to Breslau, as I offered her another slice. 

" You see I don't care a fig for you," she said to me, as she 
accepted it 

" Not less than I ; but if you cared so little, you wouldn't 
have got so red." 

" I don't care a fig for myself, too." 

"Ah ! that's all right then." 

And as it was getting rather painful, I looked at them and 
laughed — " I admire you ! " 

" Me ? " asked Breslau. 

" Yes ; you." 

" You are quite right." 

" Indeed ! " 

And that was all. 

" Are you coming, Sarah ? " asked Breslau. 

I went back to my brush- washing. 

How childish ! 

Friday, April ISth. — I have been looking for an Empire 
or Directoire head-dress, which led me to read the article on 
Mme. R£camier, and I am naturally depressed to think that I 
might have a salon, but have none. 

The imbeciles will say that I think myself quite as 
beautiful as Mme. R£camier, and as witty as a goddess. 

Let the fools talk, and let us content ourselves with saying 
that I deserve a better fate ; and the proof of it is, that all those 
who see me imagine that I take the lead, and that I am a 
remarkable woman. People heave a deep sigh, and say, my 
turn will perhaps come. ... I have got usea to God ; I have 
tried not to believe in Him, but I cannot succeed .... that 
would bring general collapse and chaos. I have only God — a 
God who takes note of all my trivialities, and to whom I tell 
everything. 

Monday, April 21st. — Last day of the competition ; there 
was considerable animation. 

On Saturday I went with Lisen (a Swede) to see some 
artists at Batignolles, near the Montmartre Cemetery. I 
have found out that what I dislike in Paris are the boule- 
vards and new parts. 

Old Paris and the heights, where I went on Saturday, 
breathe a perfume of poetry and peace which went to my 
heart. 



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366 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

Tuesday, May 6th. — I am very busy and contented ; I was 
miserable because I had too much leisure — I see it now. For 
the last twenty days I have been working from eight to 
twelve, and from two to five, getting home at half-past 
five. I then work till seven o'clock ; in the evening I 
sketch, or read, or play a little music, so that at ten o'clock 
I am fit for nothing but bed. 

Such an existence leaves no time to think how short one's 
life is. 

Music ; the evening hour ; the thought of Naples .... 
distract my attention. . . . Let's read Plutarch. 

Wednesday, May 7th. — If this working fit would but last, 
I should think myself quite happy. I adore drawing and 

Eainting, composition and sketching, crayon and red chalk ; I 
ave had no wish to be idle, nor to rest. 
I am hapgy ! One month of such days represents the 
progress of six ordinary months. It is so absorbing, so 
interesting, that I fear it will not last At such times as 
these I believe in myself. 

Thursday, May 8th. — In my simple childhood, I thought, 
by the interest I felt in reading stones of the cardinals, at the 

A period, that I had the power to love. Recently I have 

read histories of painters with the same interest, and have 
even felt my heart beat at some studio stories. 

Saturday, May 10th. — My ^painting is not bad, nor the 
tone unpleasant. As for the composition, Julian thought it 
very good as regards expression, grouping, and arrangement, 
but said it was badly executed. He also added that tnis was 
not an important point in these competitions, which is quite 
comprehensible. 

Monday, May 12th — I look pretty, and am happy and in 
good spirits. We went to the Salon, and chatted about every- 
thing, for we met Beraud, the painter, whom we puzzled at 
the masked ball, and who passed us, not guessing who 
we were. 

JJBreslau's picture is a fine canvas, filled with a large easy- 
chair of gilt leather, in which her friend Marie is sitting, 
in a dark-green dress of subdued tint, with something of 
grey-blue colour round the neck; in one hand she holds a 
portrait and a flower, in the other she has a packet of 
letters which she has just tied up with a red ribbon. The 



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PARIS, 1879. 367 

arrangement is simple, and the subject is well known. 
Admirable drawing, with great harmony of tone, the effect 
of which is almost charming. 

I suppose I am uttering an enormity when I say that 
we have not a single great artist. There is Bastien-Lepage ; 
where are the others ? . . . . There's knowledge, facility, 
conventionality, school-work, plenty of conventionality, an 
enormous amount of it. 

Nothing true, nothing that moves, strikes, thrills, or 
touches, nothing that makes you shiver or weep. I do not 
speak of sculpture ; I do not know enough about it to give 
an opinion. But to see the utter want of solidity of the 
domestic or genre pictures, and these horrible pretentious 
mediocrities, and the portraits, either common or good, is 
enough to sicken you. 

I have seen nothing good to-day but the portrait of 
Victor Hugo, by Bonnat, and, perhaps, Breslau's picture. 

Breslau s arm-chair is out of drawing, the woman seems 
to be holding on to it, because it seems to lean towards 
the beholder : it is a pity. I mention Bonnat because there 
is some life in what he paints, and Breslau because all the 
middle tones are so harmonious. 

I cannot allow that it is right to give, as L does, 

the same toes to every woman .... it irritates and 
enrages me. 

Wednesday, May 14>th. — Instead of going to the 
Salon, I worked at my sketch .... "The Death of 
Orpheus." 

I do not feel perplexed either with the composition or 
the drawing. I have got notions of glory and happiness, 
and of all that is most delightful in the world. 

Friday, May 16th. — The Salon is a bad thing because, 
when you see the rubbish, the utter rubbish, which is 
there, you begin to think yourself somebody, when, in 
reality, you are nobody. 

Sunday, May 30th. — Jeanne sat to me, and we kept her 
to dinner with us. 

She is, I need not tell you, a woman well born, per- 
fectly well bred, highly educated, and intelligent; she is 
badly dressed, and looks like a board, while, in reality, she 
has one of the most beautiful figures you could wish to see, 
though she is brown and thin. 



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368 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

She has magnificent eyes, her mouth is of the same 
width as her eyes, and as the breadth of her nose. Her 
nose is very large, but beautiful and noble in shape ; and 
her neck is like a swan's. She reminds me of the Queen of 
Italy, although she is very dark ; not, however, as regards 
her skin, for that is fairly white. 

You must know that she married Baron W , junior, 

an awful brute. 

The poor woman was at death's door when her family came 
to her rescue by suing for a separation. Poor woman ! 
she hates him. 

In this case, you see, it would be better to drown 
one's self than to live with one's husband. But I don't 
think Jeanne capable of loving at all She is a fenime de 
Temple, if you have read V Homme-Femme. 

Thursday, June 5th. — After Jeanne had sat, we went 
together to Mme. de Souza, whose at-home day is Thurs- 
day. In the evening we went to the L 's, and mamma 

accompanied me; sne still wore mourning in order to 
make a better impression on her hosts. 

M. de L lights a candle and takes us to look at 

the children, who are all in bed and asleep. Just like a 
guide showing you the curiosities in a museum. He carries 
off the guests m parties, and shows them the nine wonders 
of the world, which they really are considering the age of 
their father. 

Saturday, June 7th. — Mme. de L sent all her seven 

children with three nurses to see us. 

But first let me say that my painting was not bad in 
tone (that's the most important thing for me), but faulty 
in the composition ! R. F. scolded me, but I need not 
fret too much about that, for in working hard at the 
colour I overlook the composition ; but I will make up 
for that afterwards when I nave conquered the colouring ; 
ou do not lose what you have by nature. But all the same 

am in a dark cloua. To return to the L children, 

they are curiosities. They are accustomed to be trotted 
out to visitors, and to perform studied movements. In 
five minutes' time they were quite at home ; they wanted 
me to draw their portraits, each one posed in his turn. I 
sketched them all m five or seven minutes ; the eldest con- 
sidered my sketch very good. Next he wanted me to put 
the number and name under each face. 



F 



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PARIS, 1879. 369 

I feel stupefied, out of my element, and bored. 

Monday, June 9th. — No doubt it is the warm and heavy 
weather which makes me good for nothing. I have worked 
all day long, and, moreover, I have quite made up my mind 
not to shirk my work ; but I feel much shaken. 

To-night we are going to the Foreign Office ball. I 
shall look plain ; I am sleepy and should like to go to bed. 

I am not longing for a succhs d'estime, ana I feel that 
I shall seem plain and stupid. I do not even think of making 
" conquests " nowadays. I dress well, but I no longer throw 
my soul into it, and I never think about the sensations I 
may c$iuse. I look at nothing and nobody, and am dread- 
fully bored. I care for nothing but painting. I have no 
wit left, no readiness of speech ; when I speak I am dull or 
exaggerated, and .... I must set about making my will, 
for I feel that this cannot last. 

Saturday, June \Uh. — I have been drawing this week 
and they consider that I have not done as well as I ought 
I am sick of life ! 

Sunday, June 15th. — For the moment I cast away all my 
cares and have quite made up my mind to work. 

Julian is a great man as regards the way in which he com- 
prehends the duties which are incumbent upon me ; and ho 
says that I must succeed, just because .... We understand 
one another, dear posterity, do we not ? 

"You must begin next year," said the illustrious leader 
of the Folies-Julian. 

Yes, it is settled ; and you will see, old father Julian, that 
I have something in me ! 

To tell the truth, you encourage me for the sake of the 
money I bring the studio, and for the honour I might bring. 
But then what does it matter, whether my work be good 
or bad, you will be paid all the same ? 

You will see, if I am not dead. My heart beats, and I am 
in a fever when I think that I have only a few months 
longer. 

I will work hard, with all my mi^ht, all the time. To- 
morrow I will go to Versailles, but if I miss just to go to 
Versailles it will not matter — it will mean the loss of one 
afternoon in the week at the outside. 

Julian has already noticed the renewal of steady work, he 
will see I never omit to do my weekly compositions. I have 
z 2 



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370 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

an album in which I design them, number them, and write 
the title and date of each. 

Saturday, June 21a£ — I have been crying for nearly 
thirty-six hours without stopping. Last night I went to bed 
quite worn out 

We had two Russians to dinner, Abigink and S£vas- 
tianoff, gentlemen-in- waiting on the Emperor, also Tchouma- 
koff and Bojidar ; but I was good for nothing. My sceptical 
and chaffing wit was gone. I have sometimes lost relatives, 
and had other troubles, but I never remember mourning for 
anybody so much as for the one who has just died. This is 
all the more surprising that after all it ought not to affect me 
at all, I ought rather to rejoice. 

Yesterday, at twelve, as I was leaving the studio, Julian 
sounded the whistle for the maid, who put her ear to the 
tube, and directly afterwards said to us in a voice full of 
agitation — 

" Ladies, M. Julian asks me to inform you that the Prince 
Imperial is dead." 

I assure you that I uttered a shriek, and sat down on the 
coal-box. And they were all talking together. 

" A moment's silence, if you please, ladies. This is official 
che telegram has Just been received. He has been killed by 
the Zulus, so M. Julian tells me." 

This rumour had been already circulated, and indeed 
when the Estafette was brought to me I perceived in thick 
letters the words — Death of the Prince Imperial. I cannot 
tell you what a blow it was. 

Moreover, to whichever party one may belong, whether 
one be French or not, it is impossible to help feeling the 
general stupefaction. 

This frightful, this premature death, is a terrible thing. 

But I will tell you what none of the papers will tell — 
namely, that the English are cowards ana murderers. All 
this cannot have happened in the natural course ; there must 
be one or several guilty wretches infamously bought. Should 
a prince, the hope of a party, be exposed to danger ? And a 
son, too ? .... No ; I don t think there is a single wild beast 
who would not be grieved to think of the mother. The most 
appalling sorrows, the most cruel losses, always leave some- 
thing, a gleam of light, of consolation and hope Here 

there's nothing, ft can be said without fear of contradiction, 
that there has never been such a sorrow. It was her fault 
that he left ; she bothered him and tormented him, she did 



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PARI8, 1879. 371 

not give him as much as five hundred francs a month, and 
made his life wretched. The young man left on bad terms 
with his mother. 

Do you see the horror of it all ? Do you see that 
woman's state ? 

There are mothers as miserable, but not one of them 
can have felt the blow so much ; for the pain is made as 
many millions of times greater in proportion to the noise 
and sympathy or even to the imprecations caused by this 
death. 

The brute who broke this news to her would have done 
better to kill her. 

I went to the studio, and Robert Fleury paid me a great 
many compliments; but I returned home only to sob 
again. Afterwards, I went to Mme. G 's, where every- 
body was in mourning and had red eyes — from the lodge- 
keeper upwards. 

M. Rouher remained for half an hour speechless. We 
thought all was over with him ; then he wept perpetually 
without stopping. Mme. Rouher had intermittent nysteric 
attacks all the evening, shrieking that her husband was dying 
and that she would die too. 

Mme. G interrupts her, and says, with decision, 

"Really, at such times as these people ought to manage to 
avoid hysterics .... it is most inconvenient," she aaded, 
very seriously. 

I was keeping back my tears, as they would not have 
understood what was the matter with me ; but I could not 

help smiling when I heard Mme. G telling her tale to 

some ladies m mourning, and saying that Mme. Kouher, when 
she heard the news, fell flat down upon her back. Mourning 
is put on for six months. " We shall, no doubt, be sick of it 
before that time ; but the first days, you understand !...." 

Those English have always been horrid to the Bona- 

5 artists, who nave always been stupid enough to go to that 
espicable England, which I hold in perfect hatred. Do 
we not become very enthusiastic, very tearful, over a novel ? 
Can we help being moved to our soul's depths by this 
frightful catastrophe, by this terrible, odious, ana heartrending 

death ? It struck me at once that C would turn towards 

the family of Jerome, and that was exactly what happened. 
In short, here is a whole party out in the cold. They want a 
prince even for the sake of appearances, and I think they will 
keep together. Some of them, those who have least com- 
promised themselves, will go over to the Republic; but the 



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372 MARIE BASHKIKTSEFF. 

others will continue to support some shadow or other. But 
who can tell ? When the King of Rome died, was it not 
thought that all was at an end ? 

To die ? at such a moment. To die at the age of twenty- 
three, killed by savages ; and fighting for the English ! I 
should think that his most cruel enemies must feel a sort of 
remorse in their inmost hearts. 

I have read all the papers, even the insulting ones, and I 
have bathed them in my tears. Were I French, and a man 
and Bonapartist, I could not be more shocked and outraged 
or more distressed. 

To think of this boy driven away by the low jokes of the 
dirty radical papers; to think of him being attacked and 
murdered by savages ! 

The cries he must have uttered, his despairing calls for 
help, the suffering, the horror of his helplessness ! Dying 
in a horrible unknown corner, forsaken and almost betrayed / 

But why so all alone, and with the English too! . 
And his mother. 

And the English papers have the infamy to insinuate 
that there was no danger in the place where they were 
reconnoitring. Can there be any security in such a country 
for a small party amidst savage enemies ? 

One must be a fool or an idiot to believe it But read 
the detailed accounts. He was left there for three days, 
and that wretched Carey only noticed that the Prince 
was missing when it was too late. 

When he caught sight of the Zulus he fled with the 
others, without troubling himself about the Prince. 

No, it is awful to see it in print in their papers and 
to think that this nation has not been exterminated, that 
their confounded island cannot be annihilated with all its 
cold, barbarous, perfidious, and infamous inhabitants 1 Oh ! 
if it had been in Russia, our soldiers would have sacrificed 
themselves to the last man ! 

And these scoundrels forsook him and betrayed him ! 

Only read the details and see if you are not struck 
with so much infamy and cowardice! Is it right to run 
away and forsake one's comrades? 

And will they not hang Lieutenant Carey ? 

And the mother, the Empress — poor Empress ! All is 
at an end, lost and annihilated. Nothing left but a poor 
mother dressed in black. 

MoTidxiy, June 23n7. — I am still under the sad in- 
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PARIS, 1879. 373 

fluence of this terrible event The public has slightly 
recovered from the shock, and is wondering through what 
criminal imprudence the unhappy young man was left in 
the hands of the savagea 

The English press deplores the cowardice of the Prince's 
companions. And I, who count for nothing, gasp for breath 
and the tears fill my eyes when I read the lamentable 
accounts. I have never felt so upset, and the efforts I 
have been making all day to keep from weeping oppress me. 

It is said that the Empress died in tne night, but no 
newspaper confirms this fearful but consoling rumour. I 
feel such a raging in my heart when I think how easy it 
would have been to prevent this crime, this misfortune, 
this infamous occurrence. Troubled faces are still to be 
seen in the streets, and some of the newswomen are in 
tears. I am crying too, though I admit that I can't 
account for it. I snould so like to be in real mourning 
with crape, it would be in keeping with my spirits. 

" What is it to you ? " they would ask. 1 don't know, 
but it makes me very sad. 

There is no one here. I am shut up in my own room. 
. I shall not have to act a part, so I burst into tears, which 
is idiotic, for it weakens my eyes ; I felt the effects of it 
this morning as I worked. But I cannot be calm when I 
think of the fatal and truly frightful circumstances which 
accompany the Prince's death, and of the cowardice of his 
companions. 

It would Itave been so easy to have avoided it ! 

Wednesday, Jtdy 2nd, — Having read other depositions 
of English soldiers, I came to the studio so upset that I 
could do nothing but scratch my painting ana take my 
departure. Between this and Saturday I shall have time 
to do a profile of Dina, who has grown as beautiful as 
I have grown plain. 

Wednesday, July 16th. — I am singularly weary ; I have 
heard that the typhoid fever begins in that way. 

I have had had dreams. If I were to die ? I am 

Suite astonished that I do not tremble at the thought of 
eath. If there is another life it must certainly be better 
than the life I lead here on earth. And if tnere should 
be nothing after death? That would be all the more 
reason for not being terrified, and for desiring the end of* 



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374 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

troubles without greatness, and torments without glory. I 
must make my will 

I begin to work at eight o'clock in the morning, and 
at about five I am so tired that my evening is wasted ; 
in fact, I must make my will. 

Monday, July 21st. — Decidedly we have no summer 
it becomes colder and colder. 

Our model this week for the whole day is a red-haired 
woman of astounding beauty — limbs like a statue, and 
a complexion such as I have never seen. She will not 
remain a model long, so we greedily take advantage of 
the time she is here. 

Sunday, Auquat 3rd. — My dog, Coco II., has disappeared. 
This happened while we were at the theatre. I was 
surprised^ at not seeing him dash to meet me when I re- 
turned, and I went to see if he were with the others. 
Then I was told that he was lost You think nothing of 
that, but I, who loved the creature dearly, who had named 
it before its birth, and who had become as much attached 
to it as it was to me ! . . . 

But you cannot understand what a grief this is to me. 
The dog never left me when I was at work. . . My 
people, who know that I am pained, keep mournfully silent. 
Mamma has been running about all the evening. 

On coming home, I went out again to beg some police- 
men to bring him back if they found him. 

All the servants were told they that must find the dog or 
leave their situations. This is the fourth dog in one year 
First of all Pincio, then Coco L, a week ago Niniche, and 
yesterday my dog. 

Monday, August Wi. — I could not go to sleep. That 
poor little dog was constantly before my eyes — still so timid 
that he ran away from the concierge, not knowing where 
to eo. 

I even shed a few tears, and then asked God to let me 
find him again. I have a particular prayer which I 
whisper to myself when I want to ask for something. I 
don't remember ever having said this prayer without feel- 
ing relieved. 

This morning they called me, and brought back my 
dog, and the poor wretch was so hungry that he didn't 
show so very much joy to see me agaijx 



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PARIS, 1879. 375 

I had considered him as lost, and my family, to comfort 
me, kept telling me that he had been killed. 

Mamma exclaims that it is a real miracle, for it is the 
first time we have found a lost dog. She would be much 
more surprised if I told her of my prayer, but I only 
mention that here, feeling dissatisfied in doing so. There 
are thoughts and prayers of so private a character that 
when they are repeated or written they make us appear 
stupid and ridiculous. 

Saturday, August 9th. — To go or not to go ? The 
boxes are packed. My doctor does not seem to have much 
faith in tne efficiency of the waters of Mont Dore. But 
what matter, I am going for the sake of rest. And when 
I come back I must lead a life of amazing activity. I 
shall paint all day, and model at night. 

Wednesday, August 13th. — We have been at Dieppe 
since yesterday, where we arrived at one o'clock in the 
morning. 

Are all seaside places alike ? I have been to Ostend, 
to Calais, to Dover, and I am now at Dieppe. It smells 
of tar, boats, cordage, and tarpaulin. It is windy, you are 
exposed on all sides, and feel like a vessel in distress. It 
recalls sea-sickness. How different to the Mediterranean ! 
There you can breathe, and have something to look at. 
There are no nasty smells as here. I prefer a nice little 
nest of verdure like Soden, Schlangenbad, and what Mont 
Dore must be. 

I come here for fresh air. Ah ! well yes, no doubt the 
air is better when you get out of the town and the port. 
None of these northern seas please me, and the sea is 
only visible from the third floor of any of the hotels. 
Nice, O San Remo, O Naples, O Sorrento ! ! ! You are 
not vain words, exaggerated and profaned by the praise of 
the guide-books. You are really beautiful and divine ! ! ! 

Saturday, August 16th. — We laugh a good deal, and I 
am very much bored, but it is my nature to laugh, and my 
laughter has nothing to do with the humour I am in. I 
used to take an mterest formerly in looking at the 
passers-by in a watering-place — it amused me. 

I have become perfectly indifferent, and do not care 
whether I have men or dogs around me. I enjoy myself 
best of all when I am alone, playing or painting. I expected 



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376 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

my life to be something quite different to what it is, but 
since it has not turned out as I had hoped, I care not what 
happens. It cannot be denied that I have always been 



Tuesday, August 19th. — I took my first sea bath, and 
one thing with another makes me wish for an excuse to 
cry. I would rather be dressed as a mussel fisher than 
wear the dress of a bourgeoise. But after all, mine is an 
unhappy nature. I should wish for an exquisite harmony 
in every detail of life. Things which are considered elegant 
and beautiful often shock me by some lack of art or grace, 
or of an indescribable something. I should like to see 
my mother elegant, witty, or at least dignified and proud. 
. . . Oh, wretched existence ! why should one oe so 
tormented ? . . . 

You call these trifles? . . . Everything is relative, and 
if a pin hurts you as much as a knife, what have sages to 
say to that? 

Wednesday, August 20th. — I do not think I shall ever 
have a sensation which is not mixed with ambition. I 
despise people who are nobodies. 

Thursday, Atcaust 21st. — This morning I went to make 
a sketch of Mother Justin, who is seventy-three years of 
age, and who has had nineteen children. She deals in sand. 
People crowded round, but I pretended not to see any of 
them, then a company of soldiers came to do some sort of 
exercise on the beach, and soon afterwards there was a 
driving rain ; but I will go back to-morrow. It amuses 
me so to study in the open air. These pictures will make 
my study look chic. 

I hope you understand that I affect no artistic get-up 
nor any of the silly ways of people who smudge without 
talent and dress like artists. 

Dieppe, Friday, August 22nd. — O sublime Balzac! 
You are the greatest genius of the world ; in whichever 
direction we turn, we always find ourselves in your sublime 
comedy. You seem to have always lived and copied from 
nature. I have just seen two women, who by their origin, 
their looks, and their life, reminded me of Balzac, this great, 
unfathomable, and wonderful genius. 

My people have just returned from the theatre. Mme. 



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DIEPPE, 1879. 377 

de S is said to be very plain ; and that is the general 

opinion. 

How is it that I think her so charming? I allow that 
she is not pretty, but with iny artist's eye, I am charmed by 
a certain curve of the lips ana by her nose which is so finely 
chiselled. She has no lines on her cheeks nor wrinkles 
under the eyes, and her manners are exquisite. 

Friday, Aiigtist 29th. — Fatalism is the religion of the 
idle and desperate. I am desperate, and I swear to you 
that I do not care for life. I should not utter this triviality 
if I only felt this occasionally, but it is my constant thought 
even in joyous moments. I do not fear death ; if there is 
nothing after it, all is simple enough, and if there is 
another life I recommend myself to God. I do not ex- 
pect to go to heaven, for there one is bound to endure the 
same torments as here below. 

Monday, September 1st, — I hope you have noted the 
change that has little by little been going on in me. I 
have become serious and sensible, and then I am getting a 
better hold of certain notions. I now understand many 
things that I used not to understand, and of which I 
talked at random, without being convinced. I have dis- 
covered this morning, for instance, that a great affection 
for an idea is possible, and that we can love it as we love 
ourselvea 

The devotion to princes and to dynasties touches and 
kindles me, it makes me weep, and might, under the direct 
impulse of something affecting, drive me to action ; but in 
my inmost soul there is a something which absolutely 
prevents me from approving of myself m these movements 
of the heart 

Whenever I think of great men who have served other 
men, my admiration for them halts and disappears. This 
is perhaps a silly vanity, but I almost despise all these . . . 
servants, and I am really only royalist by putting myself in the 
King's place. Gambetta, for instance, is not a man of vulgar 
ambition ; and the conviction which makes me think this 
must be strong and well-founded, or I could not say it 
with sincerity after studying the reactionary press for three 
years. 

As far as I am concerned I might tolerate the idea of 
bowing before kings, but I cannot quite adore or esteem 
a man who would do it. 



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378 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

It is not that I refuse the honours ... no ; be it under- 
stood, I should be delighted to become the wife of an attache 
to an embassy or a court. (But all these people need 
dowries, and are on the look-out for them.) 

I am speaking here only of my inmost thoughts. 

It is what I have always thought, but one cannot always 
express one's thoughts. I approve of a constitutional 
monarchy, as in England or Italy, and even then it revolts 
me to see these bows to the royal family — it is an unneces- 
sary humiliation. When the king is sympathetic, like Victor 
Emmanuel, who represented and served a great idea, or like 
Queen Marguerite, who is adorable and kind, it is not so 
bad, but these are fortunate accidents. It would be much 
more natural to have an electoral chief, naturally sym- 
pathetic on that account, and surrounded by an intelligent 
aristocracy. 

The aristocracy cannot be destroyed, nor can it be created 
in one day ; it must keep itself up, but need not necessarily 
hedge itself in with stupiaity. 

The andens rdgimes are the negation of progress and 
intelligence ! 

We exclaim against certain individuals, but of what use is 
that ? Men pass away, and when they are no longer wanted, 
they can be shelved. It is said that there are many black 
sheep among the Republican party. I told you months ago 
my opinion on this matter. 

I near them talk of absurd hatred against the persons of 
kings ; but that's not the question. It is not the man who is 
bad, but the office which is useless. 

I respect illustrious families ; they have been, they are, and 
they will be ; they ought to be honoured by their country, but 
that's different from being stupidly and irrevocably saddled 
with one man and his posterity. But no, none of that ; I say 
nothing against the power of race, rather the contrary. 

Csesarism copies the Romans. Why copy ? If the people 
are deceived by intrigues and disloyal manoeuvres, it will be 
their own fault. But with hereditary kings, the people dis- 
penses with all efforts of intelligence, and has not even the 
chance of choosing well once in ten times. It's all un- 
certainty, routine, imbecility, and cowardice. If the people 
are stupid, and choose badly, they deserve nothing better. 
These remarks are replies to things which are often said 
against the Republic. 

But to be clear. . . . My Republic is an enlightened, 
polished, and aristocratic Republic. How can I express it ? . . . 



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PARIS, 1879. 379 

Athenian, he called it* 

Wednesday, September 3rd. — The arrival of the political 
exiles, flaunting red caps and sashes, is a bad thing. These 
people ought never to have been brought back. They had 
become accustomed to live out there, and they will now be 
strangers here. God only knows what complications may 
arise from this return of nusbands or wives after ten years' 
absence ! 

I have no time to tell you my attitude towards the opinion 
which demanded this return. 

Paris, Wednesday, September 17th. — To-day is a Wednes- 
day, a favourable day ; a 17th, a date still more favourable, on 
which I am beginning to prepare myself for sculpture. I 
made inquiries as to studios. 

Robert Fleury came yesterday to the school; there was 
not much to correct, so he gave me some good advice, 
exhorting me to work out the painter's side, in which I have 
hitherto been deficient, in spite of my qualities of compo- 
sition, drawing, character, likeness, &c. And now, instead of 
drawing, I am going to model by gaslight. You understand. 
I do not neglect colour, for I paint while there is daylight, and 
as soon as it has gone I inodeL Is that, settled ? Yes, 
certainly. 

I went for a walk with Amanda (the stout Swede), 
and she told me of her visit to Tony (who was very nice 
to me yesterday), and with whom she talked about all 

the pupils. He told her that A would always fail in 

drawing and construction, &c. The fact is, she produces 
absurd pictures — swollen heads and crooked eyes, &c. As 
for Breslau, he said that she has not made enough pro- 
gress, and Julian added that her talent is nothmg but 
perseverance. Emma is clever, but lazy, and she has wild 
ideas. And myself, extremely talented, and, at the same 
time, studious, hard-working, and serious; astonishing and 
rapid progress ; very good drawings ; in short, " a concert 
of praises." Then it must be true, since they say so to 
strangers. Anyhow, it gives me courage, and I will work 
more, and better. 

* Aristocratic — this requires reflections and explanations. Aristocracy of 
race absolutely confirmed by manners and education, in default of intelligence. 
Yes, for in social relations these are things, the influence of which cannot be 
denied. Besides, there is only one equality possible, it is equality bofore the 
law ; all other equalities are wretched farces invented by the enemies of liberty, 
and demanded by the ignorant. 



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380 MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. 

I long to go into the country, real country, with trees, 
grass, and a park, full of verdure, as at Schlangenbad, or even 
Soden, instead of that dull and barren Dieppe. And they 
say I don't love the country! I don't like the country in 
Russia, the neighbours, the house, &c. . . . but I adore the 
trees and the pure air so much, that I wish I could spend 
a fortnight in some very green and very fragrant corner. 
How I should like to go to Rome ! But of Rome I seldom 
speak, even in this journal ; the subject excites me too 
much, and I wish to remain calm. 

It was in crossing the Tuileries gardens that I was seized 
with thoughts of country life. But how can I help it ? I love 
the country as much as I hate the bare and windy beaches 
.... But to go to Switzerland for a fortnight with my 
family would be a terrible bore. Worries, recriminations, 
and all the accessories of domestic happiness. 

Wethiesday, Octolwr 1st — Here are some papers, and 
I have just been reading the two hundred pages which 
compose the first part of Mine. Adam's review. 

It has upset me ; and I have left the studio at four o'clock 
to go for a walk in the " Bois," wearing a new hat, which 
makes a sensation, but now I don't care. I find Mrae. 
Adam very pleasant 

I think you know me well enough to understand the 
influence of all these vital questions on my poor mind. 
There is nothing to be done in the matter of ancient 
fidelity ... I still love violets, but simply as flowers. I 
pass on to the Republic, and new ideas. 

To-day, here am I, entirely possessed by the Revue 
NoxivelU. Who knows whether, at a given moment, I shall 
not become enthusiastic over Prince Napoleon, whom I like 
better than Napoleon III., and who is really somebody ? 
You must understand that I am not joking, and that I 
am as advanced as it is possible to be. We must move 
with the times, especially when we really feel the desire 
and irresistible need to do so. 

Saturday, October llth. — I left off the head in the 
middle of the week, consequently, when Robert Fleury was 
passing from the large studio to the small one, I hid behind the 
cloaks ; but he saw me, and made me a friendly reproach, and 
as I was replying he walked on, shaking his head and look- 
ing back at me, which caused him not to look in front of 
him, and to flatten his nose against the door, and me to 



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PARI8, 1879. 381 

laugh. So he was very cold to me when correcting my 
torso, and said not a word in its favour ; another time I 
might have had a little more success. So here I am, 
miserable, distracted,